Saturday, November 5, 2011

Michelle Lopez: Vertical Neck (Revised)

Michelle Lopez’s second solo exhibition at Simon Preston Gallery introduces us to a space of minimal approach where subtle shapes and smooth surfaces invite our senses to embrace a mystical presence.

In it reigns a contradiction between the toughness of the materials and the softness of the shapes. Consequently, the hard aluminum juxtaposition of these big leaning wall-based sculptures with smooth folds and wrinkles conveys an impossible scenario of delusion and caprice. Through multiple crumples and distortions, tough aluminum seems to be malleable and elastic. Michelle Lopez employs different material qualities in her pieces achieving perverted results; aluminum’s rigid appearance turns into flexible crumpled paper, wood’s natural solidness turns into curved melted plastic.

The body of work is embedded with a minimalist semblance. Blue Angel exemplifies the reductionist principle that is present all over the show; a simply crumpled mirroring surface which contrasts with its deep matte blue backside, supports the piece’s visual statement. A sober presentation allows focusing our gaze in the contradicting properties of the elements displayed.

The work’s austerity summed to its vertical orientation evokes spiritual solemnity. Moreover, the reduced number of colors employed intensifies it. Thus, the attention is addressed towards formal resonances, avoiding excesses that could divert us from the essence of the piece. In addition, the sculptures appear to be interconnected by their wall tangency fact that creates an atmosphere of unity where we become part of a whole entity.

The white space of the walls works as a magnetic field between the sculptures, creating a coherent unity through them. Is the tension between the powerful aesthetics of the sculptures -mainly achieved through inherent contradictions between shape and material, which carries out this invisible engagement. The void left between the pieces assumes a physical presence and functions as a real element. Is not easy to transform the no-form into form and Lopez achieved it with subtle sensitivity; when we walk through the gallery the art’s aura is almost touchable.

Another group of works, her maple plywood and grip's sculptures, Your Board, share the same features of Blue Angel in terms of deformation and austerity. However, they imply more obvious connotations; at the first gaze, the image of a skateboard would appear in our mind and simultaneously multiple associations with urban culture. The fact they are related to a real object -because the combination of wood and sandpaper-, differentiates this series from Blue Angel ones, where forms are completely abstract.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings Christina,
    First of...I think this was a tricky exhibition to comment on....but clearly you felt moved by it emotively as I was reading through it....The first paragraph is slight confusing as you seem to combine a visual term with an audible term...."minimal silence" doesn't quite clearly convey what it is you intend to describe and instead of the word "ease"...perhaps the word "embrace" would seem more appropriate.

    In the second paragraph...the first sentence reads incorrectly as the tense is not used right...perhaps a revision along the lines of..."The juxtaposition between the hard materials of the large- scaled wall sculptures and its perfectly smooth folds and creases creates a sense of delusion and artistic caprice."

    In the third paragraph you repeat the same disparaging error conjoining the visual with the audible...."The work is embedded with a minimalist tone" It isn't clear what you are trying to convey....perhaps make it clear whether the work resonates to you audibly or visually....there isn't anything wrong with a tiny amount of subjectivity.

    The fourth paragraph is spot on and astute especially where you comment on the tangibility of the white space in between the works and how they amazingly function as one with the actual pieces.

    Your last paragraph, though not a conclusion, works as it continues a formal analysis into some works thus coinciding well with the preceding paragraphs....

    Well tackled exhibition, and overall a good piece of writing...just a little precision required here and there....

    Pat on Back