Framing Interference - Invisible Cities Review

Added on by jodi lightner.

The exhibition “Framing Interference” which shows my series of Invisible Cities, was reviewed by the FREETimes paper in Columbia, South Carolina. Click the Image below to read the article!

Invisible Cities -Revolution,  2018, Acrylic and Ink on Handcut Mylar, 58” x 60”

Invisible Cities -Revolution, 2018, Acrylic and Ink on Handcut Mylar, 58” x 60”


How often do we try to make sense of the world and our place in it by looking for patterns? We search for regularity in our environment and predictability in our own behavior. How disconcerting to us, therefore, is any disturbance to those patterns. We are thrown off balance by something that seems out of place or by an unexpected break in our routine. Yet these disruptions can sometimes make us step out of ourselves and reach a deeper understanding of where and who we are.

This fundamental aspect of the human condition ties together the works of two artists, Jodi Lightner and Adrian Rhodes, currently on display at the McMaster Gallery at the University of South Carolina. Entitled Framing Interference, the show, encompassing nine pieces by Lightner and a four-part installation by Rhodes, purposely disrupts patterns to enhance perception.

The three-dimensional mylar wall sculptures by Lightner, who is a member of the art faculty at Montana State University, are inspired by the fictional urban spaces described in Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel Invisible Cities. In what is essentially an imaginary conversation between the legendary explorer Marco Polo and the equally legendary Mongol ruler Kublai Khan, Calvino presents the reader with 55 poetic recreations of medieval municipalities presumably encountered by Polo on his travels from Europe to Asia, including the fantastic spider-web city of Octavia and the plumbing-framed city of Armilla. These cities are “invisible” because they are imaginary — and Polo’s descriptions are, to a significant extent, informed by his longing for the city of his childhood: Venice.

Similarly, Lightner’s nine self-professed “blueprints for impossible architecture” — each constructed from hand-cut mylar embellished with acrylic and ink — take the gallery visitor on a journey of sorts, both physical and metaphysical. As we scan the gallery walls, moving from one low-relief sculpture to another, our eyes are drawn inward from the edges of each piece to the intricate passageways at the heart of each fabricated structure. So, too, is the mind encouraged to travel to places from our personal experience, clouded perhaps by both memory and myth.

Indeed, the title of one of Lightner’s three-dimensional works, which she labels Trope, makes clear her artistic intention. She wants us to read each piece as a metaphor for how our individual perception — what we see with our eyes and with our minds — colors how we shape our environment. The labyrinthine cubicles, layered one on top of the other and connected by tiny ladders placed at various angles, recall the intricate, frequently perplexing connectivity of urban life.