There is a tension to “High Swoon,” Noël Morical’s solo show of mostly sculpture, which befits the elasticity of her star material: braided paracord. It is the tension which anticipates release, the warm swelling of rapidly unraveling astriction, the kind of joyous hot coiling one feels deep in the chest when the first palmetto tree is spotted out of the car window—the tension of ecstasy. Morical’s macrame sculptures carry in their airy effortlessness and quiet panoply of colors—look close, within the serpentine complexity of their woven sinews are myriad patterns and colors; space cadet blue and haze grey clashes; punk, pink polka dots and safety orange mini-checkerboards; canary striations—an echo of natural wonders, gently swelling curves and amoebalike apertures calling to mind the organic world with decidedly synthetic materials.
The sculptures’ apparent fluency is belied by their time-consuming construction; these are chimerical pieces composed of pattern and repetition, made from a product that—while it carries connotations of excitement and escape, the survivalist and scuba diver, the parachutist and hiker—is indeed the workhorse of these pursuits, its primary purpose to bind and hold. The tension between paracord’s wont and Morical’s empyrean execution provides the invisible arrestment. “High Swoon” is experienced as a colloid, the sculptures’ suspensions at various levels force various interactions: the face-height “Arco Iris,” for example, welcomes intimate looks, while the waist-high “Un Beso,” with its slightly bulging belly like that of a recently sated snake, comes tantalizingly close to kissing the floor. And “So-Lo” hides in the corner as a reticent octopus would. Of particular interest are the show’s anaconda denizens, aptly named “Doodles,” are long ropes or lifelines to whatever fanciful realm their brethren come from. The comme il faut, contact-free compact of art observation vis-à-vis the urge to dance around these “Doodles,” shake them or climb up them—up to wherever it is that Morical’s sculptures come from—provides the most exquisite tension of all. (B. David Zarley)
Though July 16 at Andrew Rafacz, 835 West Washington