Steve Seleska at Taj Art: Alien and Alchemic New Work
On view through September 30th
NELA Art Night reception with special guest Scott Froschauer September 8th 6-9pm
By Genie Davis
Steve Seleska’s mixed-media paintings, now on display at Taj Art in Eagle Rock, are a study in depth and perception. They are created with a bold and jubilant sense of juxtaposition, combining man and nature, the cosmos, the natural world in minutiae and the universe as seen through a microscope.
The LA-based artist himself describes his work as exploring “environments and consciousness,” and says that he is inviting viewers to consider their “mysterious and precarious existence.” Along with the poetic intimacy of his work – and its contrasting depth of scale and richness, Seleska uses a fascinating textural combination of acrylic, resin, and rubber. He says he’s inspired by physics and nature’s physicality; and that the “tragic splendor” of change and shifting perceptions, the relationship between man and our world’s environment are inexorably linked to his art, which is designed, as is all fine art to express the “challenges and battles…in which it exists.”
Often other-worldly, Seleska’s work here is alien and alchemic, both in terms of his wild and wonderful combinations of mediums and his deeply dimensional works that focus on the creation of connections both unexpected and lush. There are contrasts of light and dark, the transcendent and the compromised. He terms it “the majestic versus wretchedness.” In addition to these highly sculptural wall works, Seleska is also showing plant holders at Taj that resemble elaborate confections of swirled icing, beehives, and the patterns of the plants themselves. Both modern and classic in nature, these plant-containing table sculptures are beautiful and practical, creating mysterious cocoons around the living plant formations.
Lining the floor are other darkly ethereal sculptures, vases exploding with a thin lacy acrylic “growth,” what resembles a milk bottle with a black plant drooping from it.
While many of his works tend to embrace and become a part of the natural environment, they are also graceful and elegiac, a recreation and tribute to what we are and were, and what we can imagine of tomorrow.
In one piece, silvery black threads resemble a wild outgrowth of plant life, or cellular reconfiguration. In another, thick black blots dominate a less dimensional surface, taking over the work if you will, like a micro-cosmic exploration. In still another work, red layered pieces resemble flowers and flower petals, or the rearranged composition of human cells, bursting off the canvas as if waiting for the right place to let go and flutter away.
Seleska’s art is perfectly positioned in the charming, self-contained environment at Taj. Filling the two-room cottage, each piece creates its own conceptual world. Its depths seem unknowable, its meaning that of an imagined, yet ultimately true vision of floral and fauna that is rarely seen. There is a sense of reverence and respect for the universe itself, as well as for our place in it, our most prized possessions and concepts, and even our detritus, in the exhibition.
In the end – or in the beginning – it is cellular life, it is imagination, it is the ability to withstand the vicissitudes of change – that Seleska shows us; the outer manifestation of the internal science of our hearts.
Out in the garden courtyard, the highly textural sculptures of Jeff Iorillo made a strong pairing on opening night; a second reception runs September 8th with the courtyard featuring the gentle, self-monitoring wording of Scott Froschauer’s street-sign sculptures. “…the work aims to change how the viewer interacts with the world at large, Forschauer says, a very synchronous approach.
Beautifully curated by Kristine Schomaker, the exhibition is both haunting and involving, making the gallery a perfect spot to experience your own universe from the inside out.