Contemporary contemplation 

Three Installations at MOCA-GA

Put nearly 20,000 packages of Maruchan ramen noodles in a room and the air takes on a different quality. There is a subtly starchy, brothy odor.

There is the unspoken promise of a filling, quick lunch.

The Great Wall of noodles is the work of Sang-Wook Lee, a South Korean-born, Milledgeville, Ga.-based artist. It is one of three highly idiosyncratic installation works by three regional artists featured in the contemplative Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia exhibition Installations.

There are contradictions galore in Lee's piece: of mass-produced material and the deliberate and unique gestures of an artist. Titled "19,620," the hulking, room-filling piece is a poetic collision of the ephemeral and the eternal.

Meditative in another sense, Martha Whittington's "Raddle Cross" is like a persistent toddler lugging on your shirt sleeves to get your attention. The piece puts out a sound like ping-pong paddles sending a ball across a table that resonates through the gallery space. Wooden circles of varying sizes are suspended from the gallery ceiling on long strands of yarn and hooked to metal gears that send the discs pinging off the concrete floors at metronomic intervals.

This quirky piece, both addled and soothing, comments on the repetitive labors of weaving, though here the gestures are the opposite of productive, the necessary intersections between the threads never occurring.

Another brainteaser, Martin Emanuel's "The Three Realties," engages one of the art world's favorite subjects -- perception -- and the artist's ability to manipulate it. A room-filling application of gonzo materials for minimalist effect, Emanuel employs colored lights attached to two humorously giant scaffolds to create a shadow picture on the wall. Like a string stretched across a guitar, Emanuel has strung a blue string between two nails on the wall. The room's darkness and aimed beams of light create an optical illusion: a red shadow and a green one, and the artist's own blue chalk line to create another layer of representation. The result is a meditation on how reality is constructed.

Installations is certainly an affirmation that artists are engaged in a process much like Emanuel's, of creating their own physical realities to comment upon our own.

Martin Emanuel, Sang-Wook Lee, Martha Whittington: Installations. Through March 14. Tues.--Sat., 10 a.m.--5 p.m. The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, 1447 Peachtree St. 404-881-1109. www.mocaga.org.

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