San Francisco

External Combustion

This Friday we bring you an article from our partner site Art Practical. Written by A. Will Brown—yes, the very same writer who brings you Daily Serving’s Fan Mail twice a month—this article is the first in Brown’s new series An Exhibition, Postpartum, which investigates, “the components of making contemporary art exhibitions in order to encourage readers and art practitioners to evaluate an exhibition as a process rather than simply as a finished product.” We encourage you to follow Brown’s column on Art Practical.

Julia Couzens. Heavy sacrifice, 2011; Insy-outsy, 2013; Weakest link, 2013; Sweet, 2011; all works, mixed threads, wire, rope, yarn, and found textiles. Courtesy of the di Rosa Art Foundation.

Julia Couzens. Heavy sacrifice, 2011; Insy-outsy, 2013; Weakest link, 2013; Sweet, 2011; all works, mixed threads, wire, rope, yarn, and found textiles. Courtesy of the di Rosa Art Foundation.

External Combustion: Four Sacramento Sculptors, in the Gatehouse Gallery at di Rosa in Napa, is refreshingly unpretentious and simple in its presentation of four Sacramento artists, each of whose work follows the lineage of California Conceptual art. In the past, the exhibition’s guest curator Renny Pritikin has brought alternative forms of artistic production and visual display—tattoo art, street art, boxing, stage magic—into exhibition spaces traditionally devoted to fine art. External Combustion has a markedly less ambitious agenda, made more intriguing by its host venue, the di Rosa art foundation.

At nearly fourteen feet tall, Dave Lane’s futuristic steel sculpture, Device for Creating Stars, Model A(2010–12), is the exhibition’s most attention-grabbing piece. Opposite it hangs Julia Couzens’s delicate sculpture, Fading fast, but slowly… (2011). Composed solely of semi-transparent, green-plastic fruit baskets woven together like a climbing net and draped from the ceiling, it is the highlight of the exhibition. Set against a dark grey wall, the delicate baskets vary ever-so-slightly in hue, appearing as an array of deeply saturated greys, blues, and greens as the afternoon sun shines through them. To the right of Couzens’s piece is Nathan Cordero’s, It has been so long since someone has touched you like I have (2013), a three-dimensional collage of hundreds of small scraps of metal—tiny relics the artist unearthed via metal detector—mounted away from the wall on pins and nails. It’s hard not to take in the piece’s immensity while being drawn close to examine its minutia. Overhead, hanging from the rafters, is Chris Daubert’s The Wind (2013), a series of black acrylic boxes, each containing an LED that illuminates a brilliant red outline of a bird.

Read the full article here.

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