Response to PRESENCE
"I'm fortunate to have seen the first installation of David Wallace Haskins' Skywall in a private interior space before he built Skycube outside the Elmhurst Art Museum. This spring I was equally pleased to visit his impressive solo exhibition, Presence, at the Elmhurst museum. Skycube is a work of singular beauty that's at once simple and complex, and breathtaking at first glance. Sustained viewing becomes a contemplative experience. As with the works in the exhibition, with artful yet straightforward means, David guides—shocks—the viewer into reexamining the world we take for granted. What we see, feel, hear, and touch is artfully scrambled as we wander through the various spaces. We emerge with an altered understanding of our environment and perceptions of it. David uses light and dark, mirrors, recordings, and textured surfaces strategically and ingeniously crafted to divert, challenge and enlighten us. With echoes of Magritte, Turrell, and Acconci, David plays with the dualities of art and science, the real and the virtual, and the natural and the artificial in a way that's simultaneously direct and accessible, mysterious and evocative. His exhibition has generated a remarkable level of interest from the public, media and art community, and points to a bright future."
From the EAM Blog:
"By the end of the night, there was an electricity in the air; a new inspired energy bounced around the galleries. Haskins’ show provides visitors with insight into how their physicality interacts with space and allows them to encounter light and space as physical presences themselves--experiences that result in a new level of self-awareness and excitement about the basic elements around us."
Letters to EAM from visitors:
"At first when I encountered your Time Mirror, I didn't like myself. I looked awkward and gangly. I moved away from the looking.
Then, when my friends and I came back later, we started talking about it.
My good friend pointed out, "Anne, this is who you are. You are a very expressive person who is goofy. You are probably 10 times more expressive than anyone I know." She sometimes exaggerates, but her statement did shed light on my goofiness and ultra-expressiveness.
And it's not like I don't already know this. But it's one thing to know it in your head, and quite another to really know it - in your body, heart, head, whatever.
As I saw myself respond to my friends in conversation with my whole body doing goofy moves (and these are entirely involuntary; they just happen as I talk and respond), I was startled to see what everyone else can see. We kept talking and watching Time Mirror.
The pivotal moment came when my dear friend said to me, "Anne, this [pointing to me in the Time Mirror] is the Anne I love."
All of a sudden, I was able to accept myself and celebrate who I am. And then I started crying.
I still looked gangly, but maybe not as awkward, and very happy and goofy and kind.
And all that happening during a time where I am fasting from make-up. I've been on a little journey towards self-acceptance of the raw me. The original face I've been given. And now accepting what I guess everyone else sees! Haha. It's so weird.
My perspective of myself is often veiled by a screen of ignorance, as I believe that others see a self I think I'm projecting. I really can't control who I am or the personality I have been given. And isn't it beautiful that dear friends receive my person, and celebrate it? What a gift.
Thank you, Mr. Haskins, for your work, for your celebration of people, and for creating art that gently takes down the veils. I really appreciate it."
"I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel. I am absolutely speechless. This is without a doubt THE BEST ART EXHIBIT THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I say that in all caps because to the core of my being I know that it is true. I have been to many museums in Cairo, Paris, Bogota, London, Berlin, Santa Fe, L.A., Rome, Beijing, Washington D.C., Manila, Amman, Houston, Jerusalem, and this is the cream of the crop. Your pieces took me back to my childhood, and childlike perception of the world. As I was when I was a child I am filled with wonder. Thank you for making wonder a little more tangible."
"Amazing art by an amazing artist. I have told everyone to make sure to take time to see it. It is an exquisitely and disorientingly beautiful experience of light, self, and otherness. I don't have words. Thank you."
"I just had the most incredible journey into "Presence" realizing the potential of myself, so powerful and expansive. Thank you David Wallace Haskins for the incredible tour.
I've never experienced artwork like this... that invokes such serious shifts in perception. I was brought back to the feelings of some of my most treasured moments of Self-realization, or Self-liberation, or.. whatever you want to call it... I didn't know it was possible to reenact such untouchable Presence... Can't wait to see all the genius ideas David has in store! It was seriously so incredible."
Public Responses on Social Media:
"I just experienced the most interesting art immersion/experience of my life. It's hard to explain "Presence" at the Elmhurst Art Museum. It's a must see and only around until May 8th. Having the artist walk with us through the 7 interactive exhibits of light, sound, space, time, mystery and multi dimensional mixed media certainly added to the experience. He is here most weekends. Nevertheless, even without the guided tour, this is a must see. I'm still amazed by the last 90 minutes and don't have adequate words to describe. I can only say I'm left slightly disoriented, extremely inspired and filled with childlike wonder."
"David Wallace Haskins PRESENCE is one of the deepest, Self-connected installations I could ever imagine. The Void... a Portal to Heaven... Self-mirrors... It's all here. Grateful for this experience he's manifesting for us to encounter. I only wish I could spend more time in it. Do. Not. Miss. This."
"I LOVED the Soundcube. I felt as if the notes were swimming around my head and that I could pluck them right out of the air. I wanted to just reach out and grab them. It is truly unbelievable to stand in the space and take in the sounds that envelop you from every direction."
"It is something to behold...perception, reflection, darkness...light. I am going again this weekend! It is "WAY better" than revisiting Van Gogh for the millionth time."
"This exhibition is a stunning experience of time, sound, light and space. If you are in Chicago you must go and experience it. It's physically moving and mysterious in a way that I'm not able to describe here, & the culmination of twenty years of work on the part of David Wallace Haskins.
If you're in Miami or LA, this exhibition is built for a city filled with light, and it will be there some time in the future. I am sure of it."
"What a delight and honor to see, it was amazing!! We were absolutely enthralled. I highly recommend checking it out if you get the chance. I promise you will be very glad you did. Take a friend and it will be even more amazing!"