Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One line Review, Plasticware Physics, and the Transgressive Losenge

"While there I admired some of the art and was baffled at others. For example how does one tack two pieces of bread to a wall with thread and sell it for $800?"
This one line review of Peter Iannarelli's June 08 exhibit at Van Brunt Gallery comes by way of this blog.

Peter Iannarelli at Van Brunt Gallery

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.

James Westwater

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.

1 comment:

Keisha Luce said...

Sculptor Peter Iannarelli's work is of a strange, elusive beauty. It is not the familiar landscape hanging over a mantelpiece we recognize and praise for the use of color or
likeness. Obvious beauty. Nor is it work of sensationalism, offering us a cheap, gratuitous image that lets us go as quickly as it grabs us. Our lives are inundated with these
images, good and bad, and we live with them as passive witnesses. Iannarelli's work operates from a different place. He invites us into, and challenges, agitates our
familiar narrative. He is part archivist, part mad inventor; cataloging and recording the objects that surround us, and then, dismantles, reconfigures, and caresses them until what
emerges, is what the poet Ezra Pound must of have meant, when he spoke of 'luminous details' - the act of isolation to reveal the essence. In doing so, his work illuminates our
world, offering us a view of the common objects, the common experiences that surround us, anew. The things we surround ourselves with, act to define us. They are the threads of
shared experience and the markers of our disparate divides. Iannarelli recognized this, and through the ready- made tradition, begins to tell this story. It is a tale at the intersection of a cultural narrative and an aesthetic play that exhibits both a perceptive and wry intelligence. The installation at the Van Burnt Gallery exhibited an artist
who enters into inward vulnerability with a fierceness and brings to us, work of commonality and emotional resonance. It is not easily digestible. It is not a tabloid magazine we can pick up in the grocery store line to skim for headlines. It requires work - like all art that is worth examining for it deepens our understanding of the world, dilates our mind, and rattles our core. I can only think, that to dismiss Iannarelli's work so quickly is the poverty of one's own willingness to do the work, to uncover in these meditations, an uncommon and resonating beauty.