Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Serena Pascual reviews Luka Fineisen: Smoke and Mirrors at Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco.
Luka Fineisen’s solo show Smoke and Mirrors entertains with a multitude of textures, materials, and forms—ordinarily tactile sensations are turned into visual delights. On view at Hosfelt Gallery, Fineisen’s work here narrows her color palette to black, white, and grays in between. The distinct absence of colors beyond grayscale focuses attention on the works’ other properties, accentuating variations that range from lustrous to flat, pliant to rigid, large to small, and gaseous to solid. Together these elements compose a playful atmosphere.
Possibility (2015) is one of several works that capture matter in transition. A viscid, glittery substance creeps to the edge of its Plexiglas shelf. The shelf gives way and allows the mass to drip onto the floor, collecting in a mound. In spite of the sculpture’s stillness and its suggestion of arrested movement, a sense of fluidity prevails. What is actually solid resembles liquid frozen in place, and these disparate phases occur in amusing coexistence.
Dollops of whipped-cream resin are found elsewhere in the gallery, as is a full-length mirror that gives the appearance of a thick cloud billowing past (when in fact the mirror is misted with buttermilk). Just as illusionists use smoke and mirrors as means of deception and obfuscation, Fineisen conveys a semblance of fixedness. At a glance, viewers will notice the unmoving glitter, the indefinitely fluffy cream, and the stationary fog. However, it is not immediately evident that other components of the show are gradually changing. For example, while the swirling metallic fluid of Organic Matter II (2010) may seem to exist in an unchanging perpetual flux, it settles to the tank’s bottom by the end of the day. There it remains motionless until stirred once again. Likewise, it is only over time that one can see how the panel composed of reflective silver balloons deflates and loses its shape, eventually unrepresentative of its title, Wall (2015).
The exhibition communicates that physical appearances have the potential to mislead. Ostensible attributes are not set in stone, and Fineisen underscores how fallacious it is to deem materials as static. In her artwork, different states of matter are employed and even converge, as with solids giving the false impression of liquids or gases at a glimpse in time. She not only incorporates these phases but also depicts the countless appearances objects can take, to say nothing of color. Her show carries a lighthearted air throughout; like an illusionist’s performance, it induces mirth both at first glance and upon realization of the underlying techniques. Smoke and Mirrors is a magic trick that invites spectators to uncover its secrets.
Smoke and Mirrors is on view at Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco through August 8, 2015.
Serena Pascual is a recent graduate of San Francisco’s Lowell High School. She was an EHSS Summer 2015 Intern for Art Practical and will be studying computer science at San Jose State University in the fall.