Today from our friends at Glasstire, we bring you a review of Sandra Ono’s solo exhibition at Conduit Gallery in Dallas, Texas. Author Alejo Benedetti notes, “While many found-object artists attempt to aggrandize the ordinary, Ono recognizes her materials for what they are. The works are beautiful, delicate, and have a commanding presence, but they are also in on the joke.” This article was originally published on May 29, 2014.
Banal, low, cast-off: These are all words that could accurately describe the San Francisco-based Sandra Ono’s material list for low tide. While sandwich bags and shoe inserts are not particularly spectacular in everyday life, in the hands of this artist, moments of virtuosity punctuate the plain and ordinary with twinges of comedic clarity.
The show at Dallas’ Conduit Gallery is sparse and understated. Though the works are assembled collections of junk, the space is anything but a hoarder’s trove of keepsakes. Instead, banal materials have been assembled into two strains of works: lurching masses and ethereal constructions.
The more substantial and hulking pieces include everyday objects like mop heads and shoe inserts, which are stacked and fused together. These two works exude an air of sturdiness and quasi-monumentality, but they are far from the sincere attempts by minimal artists to create reductive monolithic objects. Ono’s works hearken back to her West Coast predecessors like Mike Kelley and Ed Kienholz with castoff materials and self-effacing humor, but with greater restraint and reductive tendencies. Substantial yet farcical, the mop-head work bends and rests its bulk on a wooden ledge. Similarly, the collection of fused shoe soles leans against the wall, unable to stand on its own, a possible subtle and lowbrow nod to the West Coast minimal artist John McCracken’s planks. Both works, given status and presence through their assemblage, have a newfound vulnerability in their awkward mass.