Vlatka Horvat, "Unleveling"
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Stepping into Rachel Uffner Gallery’s narrow storefront, one is immediately and literally wrong-footed by four rough wooden frames, spanning the room, which are mounted on casters and overlap in a higgledy-piggledy configuration. Necessitating some anxious tiptoeing, Vlatka Horvat’s installation, Which Shifts Out From Under You, riffs off of the dimensions of standard plywood flooring to produce a distorted mirror image of the space’s architecture. The arrangement’s potential for tripping up viewers is consistent with Horvat’s interest in how the inherent unreliability of built space dovetails with our intellectual inconsistencies and psychological frailties. Formally elegant in its unadorned linearity, the work also makes a neat point about the extent to which we disregard the possibility of failure in order to keep moving forward.
Entries from two collage series, “Run Aground” and “Terra Incognita,” also employ the motif of an unstable path, and the frustrated plans we encounter on the difficult journey to understanding. In the former set, Horvat re-photographs family snapshots of her parents marching in demonstrations in late-1960s Croatia, eliding the ground beneath their feet and reconfiguring what remains. In “Terra Incognita,” she takes a similar tack with remnants of previous works, repositioning formerly peripheral details as central motifs. In both projects, the artist engages in a delicate play between positive and negative pictorial space. She abstracts her source material to generate small, quiet visual proposals in which entire narratives and iconographies are deconstructed with little more than a snip of the scissor.—Michael Wilson