Library Street Collective: Cutting Edge Art Objects
by Genie Davis
“PAINTING/OBJECT” now at the Los Angeles outpost of Library Street Collective is a group show curated by Jason REVOK, and featuring, along with REVOK himself, a total of eight artists whose vibrant, modern works hover between the abstract and the surreal, the refined and street art.
The show is a profound exercise in the shaped canvas, with some artists working in 3-dimensional form. Just as shaped canvas works began in the 60s as a way to literally reshape abstract painting, the works here both evoke and soar beyond that era, creating pieces that work as sculpture and painting, drawing the viewer into a fresh fusion of modern art and illusion.
Crafted from drop cloth on wood with enamel, leather, and tacks, Robert William Moreland’s “Something to Do with Gravity,” is a large-scale sculptural piece that is geometric and defined, yet also seems to float; a corner of a building, a futuristic pyramid part, a shape that has danced and now rests. Another piece by Moreland, “Untitled, Multi Colored,” offers bright primary colors, gold, white, red, blue, running in a diagonal grid along its base, as if representing book marks, post it-notes, banners hanging from a wire, a color chart, a flag. There’s a cool loneliness in the piece, the balance of which resembles the beige and white cover of a book or notebook. Acrylic paint on canvas on panel, with leather hinges, the piece is an image frozen in time that nonetheless thrums with life. The Los Angeles-based minimalist sculptor says he is after simplicity, and his meticulous “planning and engineering… allows me a near meditative existence in the studio, designing and constructing four to six inch maquettes until I reach a compositional conclusion worth realizing on a larger scale.”
Johnny Abraham’s “Untitled” jumps at the eye, a collection of visual pick up sticks in white and black against grey, reminding the viewer of neon or fluorescent tubing strung against black bars. It’s a Rubik’s Cube of a painting, one that asks the viewer to linger, puzzle, and place.
Calli Moore’s “Control is an Illusion” is a web of blues, greens, and lavenders, using acrylic, stone and foam to create a nest, a tangled weaving that is tactile, a sea into which one sinks without a clear path to the surface.
Beverly Fishman’s “Untitled (Opioid Addiction),” uses vivid, almost phosphorescent neon colored urethane paint on fiberboard to create a pattern that is as addictive to view as an opoid is to consume. Fishman has her own solo exhibition at Library Street Collective’s Detroit location opening this month. The artist offers a pointed, searing commentary on man’s dependence on technology, specifically in regard to medical data, and its exposure and control of the individual.
American man landed on the moon, claimed that space, and now it is shrinking. It’s just a portion of our territorial claim on another planet that Matthew King reveals in his “#165 (The Vanishing American).” Using acrylic, with cut paper on aluminum, the blue and green lines framing the empty space around the image of the moon landing show how far we have come since that iconic moment, and how much we have lost. Other broken, diminished images – a black and white train cutting across a landscape, cars on a desert road, create similar feelings of loss, of missing puzzle pieces, of a shrinking footprint, both on the moon and in our nation, and within our species.
Jumping off the wall like a dimensional image from the movie “Tron,” Felipe Pantone’s “W3DIMENSIONAL 7,” merges ink and enamel on acrylic, MDF, and steel. This piece too plays on the geometric, as Pantone creates what could be a portal to a different dimension. The central object emerges from a black and white grid, a dynamic lightening bolt in silver, purple, blue, black, and deep red. Behind the object itself, what could be a ladder or stairs rise, which reminds the viewer of the work of MC Escher, specifically his “Relativity.” Both artists appeal to our visual capacity for illusion while embracing forms and shapes that are not just geometric but mathematical in nature. Pantone’s “W3DIMENSIONAL 6 ” follows a similar style, the main image in glowingly beautiful colors, horizontal rather than vertical here, the grid behind it mostly eclipsed by another Escher-like image of lines and waves, an image so gestational that it almost swims before the eye as if in motion. Pantone’s vivid colors, his collision of fine detail with vibrant form is a layering of bold graphic elements and geometric shapes that are as fiercely realized as they are restrained.
Curator Jason REVOK’s “Metadata” is a tapestry, a woven Navajo rug, and the view inside a square kaleidoscope combined. Painting with oil enamel on wood assemblage, Revok’s brilliant colors and patterns are both traditional and intensely modern, a computer’s image of an ancient weaving, The colors vibrate and shimmer, the pattern mesmerizes – as does this exhibition.
The gallery is located at 5428 W Washington Blvd.