OCHI Projects: Abstract Works Redefining Form
By Genie Davis
Through January 15th
At OCHI Projects through January 15th, Unstructure takes architectural form and turns it inside out. The exhibition includes work of three artists Brian Wills, Connie Walsh, and Claudia Parducci, whose mediums may vary but whose points are well expressed across the board; structure can be redefined, constraints can be removed, our definitions of known quantities revoked.
The exhibition successfully interweaves the work of each artist as their pieces contrast and compare. Claudia Parducci’s fragile columns dominate the room at first glance, but serve as a terrific counterpoint to the other works. Parducci’s swaying, alien-like, slender black weavings subvert what a column is “supposed” to be. They are not sturdy or supportive; rather they are suspended, reaching from floor to ceiling. They appear to float, their Jute twine becoming an other-worldly and ethereal substance. So loosely woven that light permeates them, viewers are drawn to the idea that construction itself is potentially mutable rather than sturdy, vulnerable rather than strong.
Making a strong contrast to Parducci’s work are Connie Walsh’s sculptures and photographic paintings. Here are mixed media works shaped from yarn, canvas, and beeswax. The shapes are altered, distorted. There is a perceptual battle here as to the outside and inside, the world we inhabit and the world that inhabits us. The thick composition of many of the pieces adds to the concept of depth within as a defining characteristic of outward shape. Witness Walsh’s interior facade 23, 2015, a pigment print that is so dimensional it feels like a full constructed form. Her pigment print interior facade 25, 2015 is a softer piece, a broken shell.
Likewise, artist Brian Wills asks the viewer to consider what a structure truly consists of. Wills melds painting with wall sculpture, using wood and rayon thread in his mixed media works. Both abstract and minimalist, his works invite contemplation. He is playing less with the concept of architecture itself than with the definition of a broader landscape and its horizons. These 3-D works take viewers into a new plane, a kind of alternative spatial existence, perhaps as far as a different dimension. His Untitled (Red, Gold, Silver, Wall Sculpture) uses precisely woven multi-colored rayon thread on thick walnut wood. The paler front and brighter woven sides play with what is the center of the work, what is the heart of it. Likewise, his Untitled (Tangerine and Navy HT), using the same medium, creates vibrating stripes of color, a television-test-pattern of sorts.
The exhibition itself is based on a fascinating idea that each of the artists gives full play. The idea overall is that structure itself depends upon perception. Hence each artist’s work “un-structures” the traditional, upends the conventional. It is architecture as art without gravity, classical forms turned inside out.
This is myth as form, function as art. There is a bit of a fun-house-mirror sensation from these works, an unexpected twist to what a viewer thinks he or she is witnessing. The multi-layered textures of these works, particularly evident in Walsh’s works, add even more depth to the experience.
Freeing and catharctic, this is an exhibition that creates perceptive puzzles and allows the viewer the space to solve to them. The show runs through January 15th; the gallery is located at 3301 W. Washington Blvd.