This one line review of Peter Iannarelli's June 08 exhibit at Van Brunt Gallery comes by way of this blog.
I'm sure for some, wandering into Van Brunt's back room to see Peter Iannarelli's work was akin to stepping into an artmaking meth lab freshly abandoned; The illicit chemists, just ahead of a raid, taking leave out the back or through the trap door in the floor. For me, this naked work needed time and effort to digest and a second visit did much to allow me to start seeing it. Experiencing this exhibit brought to mind a piece of Peter's that was discussed at studio group critique last Summer to which I felt unable to respond beyond feeling a satisfaction that he had made it. It was rough, raw and wrong somehow, but it felt fresh and although I couldn't get my head around it, I felt he was on to something and it felt like something natural to Peter.
I like the fact that one had to decipher what was what in the exhibit by checking the materials listed on the price list against the tangle of media in the work itself. (I couldn't identify the Baccarat Crystal compost)
This recent work feels naked to me because it's shed the cloak of metaphor and stepped away from its role of presenting emotional vignettes enlisting common materials as surrogate sentient protagonists. I've long seen his combinations of materials as surrogates of human emotional interaction in a direct one-to-one relationship. Manipulating laws of gravity and magnetism, his choice of media; balloons, magnets, glass vessels equate to scientific paraphernalia investigating the physics of social interaction. The anthropomorphic connection is more tenuous in this current work and the objects used are stand ins for themselves, challenging the viewer find something of himself in the work.
James Westwater's pervasive truncated losenge (or "hard edged oval") floating front and center of his images were on exhibit at Van Brunt in June in the front gallery. This losenge form draws a clear line in my mind to the black monolith in the film 2001, insinuating itself into the center of Everything.
By contrast to that brooding enigmatic form, James' monoliths provide a less threatening, more psychotropic effect given the user friendly rounded corners and cheerily pure hues.