A quick walk around the gallery revealed artwork that really made good use of the background white. Especially a piece by Englander called "The Wall Loves Itself" in which a white hand seemed to emerge from the wall like something out of Videodrome, holding a mirror to the wall as though it were checking itself out. In red, backward, all-capital letters were the words "I AM A BEAUTIFUL WALL." Indeed, vanity of the inanimate.
Englander's other pieces were similarly conceptual, and the theme of the "vortex" ran through a couple of pieces, as did "leaving the body." In each, symbolic beings become one with or embody the vortex in different ways, including the enigmatic "Vortex Face."
Gould's work, no less abstract in its way, and no less interesting, made extensive use of textures and composition in various contexts. One piece called "And So Carefully" looked as though Gould had created huge fingerprints through precise scoring of a material in confined areas, so as to give the impression of something left behind -- much more so than something meticulously crafted to look that way.
Running into electronic music wunderkind Colin Ward at the show, I asked him what his favorite piece might be and he pointed to "The Long Dark." Citing the frayed imperfection of the piece compared to so many other works of art, Ward seemed to see it as having taken some more liberties with the artform than expected.
And it was a night to run into some other local visual artists like Alicia Ordal, Milton Melvin Croissant III and Sara Century, also fans of the captivatingly mysterious artwork of Gould and Englander. But mostly it was people coming to see something a little different off the beaten path of First Friday, away from the mobs of people crowding Santa Fe that night.