It is difficult to define the Lightwork series of Conrad Shawcross – sculpture, installation, perhaps even performance. His pieces are typically large machines that move and spin bright lights in a manner that is somehow at once mechanistic and human. The sculptures are built of elaborate machinery similar in appearance to factory robots. However, in a way Shawcross juxtaposes the utilitarian appearance of his machines with their art-making purpose.
He says, “I really like them as unfinished objects. The minute they turn, you are left in a much easier position of ‘ok, that’s about a spinning light bulb’. But before they operate, you have to be more aggressively thoughtful to try and work out what they are for.” (via)
The name of Artist Scott Dickson‘s series Moment Monument, like the artwork, is a juxtaposition of sorts. Using vintage postcards as collage material, Dickson obscures the monuments that are the intended subject of the photographs. Using the vintage photos and geometric forms, Dickson relieves the monuments of their narrative and posterity. This allows a second look at the monuments physical context – it’s pedestal, its surrounding, the space it in inhabits. More importantly, though, it encourages a second look at monument’s conceptual context – the meaning of commemoration and memory through sculpture.
Artist Andy Ralph pulls the backyard into the gallery. Banal items often forgotten in the rain seem to be tumbling out of control. An army of garbage cans marches on two by fours, lawn chair frames grow to nearly gallery bursting sizes, lawn fences become imposing towers. Ralph’s work obviously contains an amount of humor transforming everyday commodities into absurdities. His art, though, also has a subtly menacing quality. While rendering the common items useless, he also appears to give them a certain subjectivity – a life of their own.
The street art of Sergio Gómez brings the latest in abstract art and graphic design to urban walls. Unlike much complex and text heavy street art, Gomez’ work primarily relies on primary colors and simple geometric forms. He seems to borrow as much from art styles such as Suprematism as he does from principles of graphic design. Gomez’ street art even seems to express a similar tendency to some the most exciting new abstract painters often referred to as the New Casualists. The murals seem to acknowledge street art conventions but mischievously not deliver. His work is subversive in reclaiming public space while undermining expectations.
The work of artist Luka Fineisen seems like it may exist for only a moment. Giant bubbles are scattered throughout the gallery floor. The size of the bubbles are contrasted by their seeming fragility. Fineisen in this way freezes a tense moment, stretching a delicate life long enough for close inspection. The gallery’s reflection on each bubble reminds the viewer of the delicate and temporal nature of aspects of the world around us. At any moment, something we’ve taken for granted can pop.
Though the work of Gabriel Pionkowski may be constructed like a sculpture, he is definitely a painter. Pionkowski meticulously takes apart his canvases and painstakingly hand paints each individual thread. Then, using a loom, he reweaves the thread into a canvas once again. Painters have deconstructed and reconstructed the concepts of painting for ages. Pionkowski, however does this in literal sense. His process of destruction and recreation reveals the literal and theoretical structure behind art and painting. The reconstructed pieces reveal the typically hidden supports of the canvas while creating a kind of absolute abstraction.
Lucien Shapiro‘s sculptures are a bit frightening. These baseball bats-turned-weapons seem to be pulled out of a post-apocalyptic neo-dark ages. In fact, these sculptures are part of the larger Urban Obsessions series. Like the title implies, the weapons suggest a sort of violent desperation, an urban restlessness taken to its hyperbolic end. Also, the sculptures of Urban Obsessions are nearly ritualistic like implements of a a post-modern tribal religion.
Shapiro’s Bats will join the work of nine other artists in Group Show Vol. 3 at Denver’s Gildar Gallery. The group exhibit opens Saturday January 12th and runs through February 1st.
Artist Akihiko Miyoshi creates amazing abstract work using simple photographic technique. He uses little more than a camera, colored tape, and a mirror to explore ideas of composition and color. While photography is arguably thought of as the epitome of representational art, Akihiko’s images are decidedly abstract. While minimally manipulating his images, they stand distinct from painting counterparts. In a way Akihiko abstracts not only form, but light.