2009, video still
Mary Coble and Blithe Riley make their collaborative debut with the Gallery as Coble/Riley Projects in their two-channel video "Ascension/Immersion." On-site in the woods of Maine, the artist team transformed an abandoned decaying, spring house into a platform for performance by cutting two large holes in the roof, which allowed a sole performer (Coble) to enter the structure from above and then exit from below. We watch and listen as the protagonist repeatedly drops 5 feet into a pool of water inside the spring house, then climbs outside through the roof, to drop in the water yet again, with no explicit goal. The performer's sequential actions of emergence and ascension are visible simultaneously on the split screen, creating a sense of dislocated time. The continuous unfolding of an unexplained ritual within the format of "Ascension/Immersion" generates an absorbing visual rhythm, while the ambiguity of the video's imagery gives rise to various possible meanings that can attend the oscillation between internal and exterior states.