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)
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.
Jessica Drenk is an artist currently living and working in South Carolina. I’m fascinated by her series of inherent sculptures made of the ‘old school’ HB pencils we can all remember using in elementary school days. For me, I enjoy these for nostalgia sake and also how she can create such organic, free-flowing shapes from such a rigid, preconceived mundane tool that we can all relate using to write our abc’s with. (via)
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.
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.
Matt Jacobs is an artist living and working in Kansas City, Missouri. The thing that I really enjoy about his work is his sense of play that comes through not only in the titles but the actual materials used to create his pieces such as inflatable toys, tic tacs, buckets, and brightly colored enamels. In many pieces Jacobs uses juxtaposing materials almost as a means to test the limits of the materials itself. An example of this is in his “Don’t Worry. I Won’t Hurt You. I Only Want You to Have Some Fun” in which he balanced cinder blocks 9 feet high and stuffed pool toys through the openings implying gregarious ornamental decoration of a fun day at the pool. Jacobs is the master of balancing objects by shape, form, and color. He has a great archive of studio photos on his website which is worth a look through, as well as his past installations and drawings.
Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardottir (also known as Shoplifter) created a playful inanimate entourage. Her series Imaginary Friends is composed of a number of various sculptures which seem to each vaguely resemble a person. The Friends appear to be sparsely constructed and made of familiar materials. It is intriguing for how well they imply human figures considering the little they use. Imagining a unique personality for each piece isn’t difficult. Arnardottir also seems to touching on the way identity is expressed in personal adornment and dress.
Really, much of Arnardottir’s work tip-toes between fashion and art. In fact, her familiarity with style and design has garnered her collaborations with several magazines. Arnardottir’s art, however, has teamed her up with some especially high-profile creatives such as legendary musician Bjork and super-artists Assum Vivid Astro Focus.
Romanian artist Felix Deac creates hyper-realistic sculptures…sort of. His pieces covered in human-like skin are replete with moles, veins, blemishes, and hair. However, their form is anything but familiar. His sculptures are intentionally amorphic and anthropomorphic at the same time. In a way Deac encourages the viewer to contemplate the irrational situation in which a creature like this would be a possibility and how it came into existence.