Teresa Audet’s work is framed by meditative acts of skilled labor required in functional building. She merges them with fragments of ordinary speech and translates those into more abstract and performative aesthetics, investing objects with the pleasure of their construction and cladding the gallery with symbols that verge on theater.
Audet’s curious co-mechanisms of hand-made objects, low-tech tools, psychology, and art history are transcribed onto a gratifying 3-dimensional scroll at Madison’s Art Lit Lab this month. Her kinetic document blithely titled “Squiggly On the Inside,” stems from crafting surrogates for mostly untranslatable sentiments the artist navigates in streams of consciousness. Audet weaves psychic fibers with real materials such as rattan, wood, metal, and fabric on a metaphoric ether while the viewer is charged with puzzling out their surreal toy-like vernacular.
Two wall pieces display Audet’s finesse with weaving and woodwork as she folds process and studio tradition onto symbols of personal experience and cosmographic imagination. The most vivid is a 33 ft. long spiral, titled “A Map,” constructed of dyed reed and wood. Its billowing profile portrays the path of the artist’s age braced by three hinges of stacked laminated maple. The map is an uncanny portrait, a soporific eye in the center and eyelashes at the top frayed in a permanent state of anticipation.
The centerpiece of her show, titled “Brain Circus” is a floor work made of a heavy rope circle whose 47 ft. circumference surrounds six variously sized robotic sculptures. Careworn objects simulate colloquial props from children’s fables, more Lewis Carroll than E.B. White. Shuffling continuously and enduring light collisions within their cabled border they unwittingly rearrange the flexible profile of their containment. Their juvenescent ballet calls to mind whimsical details of Alexander Calder’s beloved 1931 “Cirque Calder.”