At the deCordova, this atmosphere snaps into being almost as soon as you enter. Lining the glass wall dividing the main staircase from the park outside are several rows of glass jars filled with different colored fluids. Conceived especially for the deCordova, the effect of the work, which extends to smaller windows on adjacent sides of the building, is lovely, and changes with the outside light.
More than most of the works in this traveling retrospective, this one points to what Feher has always done best. More freelance designer than tortured artist, he responds to given spaces with interventions of delicate beauty and unerring simplicity.
Another work, on a wall that faces one of the color-adorned windows, is called “Swimming With Galileo.” It’s an installation of hanging concentric loops of yellow nylon twine which, again, react to the exterior light. Unless viewed from the side, and thereby concentrating the effect of yellow, the lines almost dissolve into the surrounding air.
Feher’s most modest works are usually the best: the flattened cardboard packaging painted a single color and stuck to the wall like miniature Ellsworth Kellys; the stacked boxes, each one painted a different color inside, the smallest and uppermost threatening to topple; the vertical tower of blue crates casting shadows like Islamic “jaali,” or latticed screens.
Full of perceptual flexes and yet in other ways seductively slothful, this is a show that brings out the best in the deCordova, an institution which, at this time of year, is already pretty enticing.
Sebastian Smee can be reached at email@example.com.