BLNKA (pronounced “blahn-kuh”)

The third event organized by BLNKA (pronounced “blahn-kuh”) proceeded this past Friday, barely attaining the requisite consent of the fire marshal to proceed in reopening the historical Mattison Building in downtown Lubbock. Surpassing their already remarkable accomplishment at the last event (transforming an alley between Ave J and K downtown into an event space), the organizers, most of whom are students in the Texas Tech architecture program, partially gutted, cleaned, and sectioned off parts of the Mattison for 2D, 3D, and installation art.


This was paired with musical and acrobatic performances outside as well as trailer-mounted pop-up exhibitions. It feels utterly unlike anything typically staged in Lubbock, or in most cities, for that matter. Key to this is compactness with which it’s organized—the entire event takes place in a single office building and its adjacent maintenance lot (the last event thrived under similar constraints in its alley); while one of Lubbock’s virtues is its unlimited space, BLNKA’s success owes to the insight that the space constraints found in large cities is an important element in the energy and excitement of events held there.

Peter Keltz @ The Mattison

Peter Keltz @ The Mattison

The Mattison held several examples of Lubbock’s creative community. Peter Keltz’ plant sculptures fall somewhere in the middle ground between the rival factions of Topiary and Bansai, foreswearing allegiance to either discipline. Each work, a collection of plants held within a structure designed to complement that of the plants, forms a consciously structured arrangement that changes over time.

Dustin White and Team (Ruben Apodaca, Maryam Kouhirostami, Eduardo Moreno, Ana Rodriguez, Miguel Dobbs, Christopher Verette)

Dustin White and Team (Ruben Apodaca, Maryam Kouhirostami, Eduardo Moreno, Ana Rodriguez, Miguel Dobbs, Christopher Verette)

The main portion of the Mattison open for viewing held works by an impressive diversity of creative work from Texas Tech and the region broadly. Dustin White and his team’s installation of reflective white mesh stretched over plastic skeletons formed fungus-like forms onto which was projected alternating patterns of light. The effect in the dark room in which the works were housed is of an ever-changing light sculpture.

Torie Lerma-Sandland "Geomorphs"

More traditional works were also on view, like Torie Lerma-Sandland’s “Geomorphs”, a series of cartographical-geological 2D works in what appears to be pigment and acrylic on cellophane, depicting metallic visions of abstracted geographical forms. These and many of the other works selected for BLNKA were excellent, and I mark my calendar in anticipation of their next event.

*The author's opinions are his own. Photos courtesy of the author.

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