There’s a lot going on in Greg Pond’s new exhibit at Seed Space, The Place You Will Wait for the Rest of Your Life. The show combines Pond’s previous work with an ongoing documentary project about the community of Patten Towers, a Section 8 housing facility in Chattanooga. The show features sculpture and video work from Pond, two photographs by Amy Johnson, and writings and a collage by Crazy Horse. As a whole, the exhibition seems to culminate around Crazy Horse himself, a resident of Patten Towers who, according to the exhibition statement, “possesses a remarkable creative brilliance.”
Pond’s new show diverges from his last few, though his distinct aesthetic is still intact. As follower and fan of his previous work, I was shocked to see an arresting array of color upon entering the gallery—a multi-colored totem and a large, neon pink 3-D printed sculpture called “Pink Mountain.” Typically, Pond sticks to a neutral palette of white, black, wood, and metal—so it is clear at first glance that other artistic hands and influences are at work.
Initially, the show is a little tough to parse. It took some time for me to piece together what the seemingly disparate objects in the gallery had to do with one another: a black and white video piece, a large sculpture made of sticks of various materials, a paper flag covered in hand-written musings, a photograph of someone’s dresser. Though after some reading and some helpful explanation, I came away with a piqued interest and a grounded sense of the inspiration behind and collaborative aspect of Pond’s endeavor.
One of the most fascinating themes of the exhibition is the juxtaposition of the natural/spiritual and the technological: a white rabbit pelt next to an abstract video projection; a sound installation incorporating the tails of rattlesnakes. Pond facilitates a collision of two seemingly disparate worlds and explores how the dust settles where they come together. This theme is expressed most vividly in the sculpture “The Place You Will Wait for the Rest of Your Life.” The piece is constructed of wooden and plastic sticks, fastened together to create a menacing, animal-like form—a mutation of the natural world and the fabricated world.
As an artist, Pond is one of the most innovative and thoughtful minds working in this region. His abilities to confront the future, negotiate the past, and philosophize on the changes our culture is undergoing is indispensable. His work is successful because it’s pared down, because it’s ambiguous, poetic, and mystical.
This exhibition is new territory and feels more like an exquisite corpse drawing—containing contributions of three very different artists, with Pond as conductor, orchestrator, facilitator. The show could simply be his work alone—and perhaps it would be stronger if it was—yet the notion of incorporating other artists and community members into a project like this achieves something bigger, more powerful and inclusive, if less succinct.