Brian Bress’ Figures Engage in Evolving Actions in “Pictures Become You” at the Akron Art Museum

Through Sun 4/14

It’s hard to convey in writing just how hypnotic and engaging the exhibit Pictures Become You by Brian Bress is.

It occupies a single room — the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Gallery — at the Akron Art Museum, ringed by a series of medium-sized flat-screen monitors on which actions slowly unfold over a period of 15-30 minutes. But don’t go to just graze, to duck in and out. Spend some time with Bress’s characters and their evolving gestures as the costumed and masked figures manipulate their stylized surroundings in various ways.

 Bress creates the costumes, props and settings, choreographs the action arcs, and films the pieces in which cartoon-like figures saw an opening in the picture plane, pose and vanish; or place and remove vaguely biomorphic magnetic pieces on their blank faces, occasionally reaching into the adjoining screen to interact by feel with their counterpart character; or make synchronized drawings on the front glass which they then erase.

While amusing — even kids will enjoy watching them at least for a little while — these films provoke thoughts about the control we have over our surroundings, how we view and are viewed, and the nature of reality.

Admission is $10, $8 for seniors and students, free for under 17. Or come on Thursday when it’s free for everyone.

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