Dietrich von Buhler Gallery, Boston, MA 3/01

Ean White has transformed Brighton’s Cynthia von Beuhler (sic) Gallery into another kind of mindscape, one in which rational, linear thought takes over one gallery and intuitive, subconscious thinking another. In between is an empty, darkened room; permeating all the spaces is a sense of doomed inevitability.

Taut wires, emitting on ever-so-slight high-pitched hum, cut diagonally across the larger gallery. In some instances, they pull thin latex sheets, looking like flayed skins, almost to their breaking point. In other cases skeins of latex hang about the room, looped over the wire in inert states of exhaustion. The wall covering of asphalt (sic) canvas adds an acrid smell, enhancing the space’s nightmarish, primordial effect. Full of menace, tenderness and futility, the work evokes a terrifying drama pervaded by fear and insecurity.

The other space is equally haunting. Walking down a narrow corridor, lined with white gravel, the sound of your steps is amplified. The path leads to what at first looks like an abstract plinth, but which, instead, turns out to be an ant farm and the still faint crunching noise that continues after you stop walking eerily turns out to be that of the smaller, trapped beings.

–Mary Sherman, The Boston Herald, 3/25/01

These installations, Lung (2001) and The Future Farmers of America (1997), are the result of two distinct approaches to “solving” a single problem. Designed in response to the work of Daniel Dennett, FFOA conveys the cerebral, austere process of its conception and realization. On the other hand, allowing myself to act on impulse—trusting my subconscious motives—the evolution of Lung took place in a cauldron of psychoanalytic stew.

This process inevitably leads one into very personal content yet, in the end, both works point to the same epistemological dilemma: How do you know you are free? Really, really free?