Thursday, July 21, 2011
A review of Re:View’s brandished
Posted by Colin Darke
By Colin Darke
Until July 23, Re:View Contemporary presents selected work from Wesley Taylor and Chitra Gopalakrishnan, two recent Cranbrook Academy of Art graduates. In viewing art, I am thrilled when I discover artists who think deeply and create unique art. Namely, I love to see those artists that create art that mirrors their unique, inquisitive view of their world. Wesley Taylor and Chitra Gopalakrishnan are two such artists.
For me, the highlight of the show is their use of digital media. Their individual discoveries show that gifted artists can use a limited medium to engross viewers with distinct visual spaces. They add to the successes of Takashi Murakami, Mark Grotjahn, and Inka Essenhigh, each of whom create complex, layered, computer-sourced paintings that escape the limits of RGB color and digital printing.
That is, there are several contemporary artists that use a visual language that initially employs the RGB color available through computers. Through the use of simple, non-mixed colors, clean lines, and often text, these artists reflect a post-pop appreciation of our current commercial society. These works reflect our consumer society because they reflect our consumption of glossy, flat, imagery throughout any given day through our computers, iPhones, iPads, etc. While this style of work has an immediate impact, its impact often disappears just as quickly. So this work runs the risk of pure graphic design in the guise of fine arts.
Yet Taylor and Gopalakrishnan bring a depth to this medium, which captured my attention long after I left the show.
Their respective “show stopper” pieces are Gopalakrishnan’s “The Song” and “The Prefect Human Being,” and Taylor’s “Color Fields with Bullet Proof.” Gopalakrishnan’s work arrests you visually with bold colors and a complex interplay of disjointing imagery of dolls, tissue, and (what appears to be) parasitic worms. In fact, Gopalakrishnan’s anchor imagery is the detailed parasitic worm imagery that creeps into her pieces. She manages to use this imagery to create beautiful pictures. She also manages to avoid the problem of layering too much imagery into a piece, which several artists that employ these techniques do not avoid. Both artists create safe havens for the viewer to rest his or her eye to avoid being overwhelmed (in a bad way) by the piece.
Taylor’s “Color Fields with Bullet Proof ” is probably the piece that will grab your attention when you first walk into the gallery. This piece consists of 18 square canvases that balance each other through a complex interplay of contrasts and sharp and blurred digital imagery. I enjoyed this piece because it approaches the line of being too complex and being too much out of the graphic design arena, but it does not go over the line. The artist knows when to hold back and create an unique experience for the viewer rather than mimicking an experience the viewer will have when they surf adverstisments on the internet or in a magazine.
Another strong series of work is Gopalakrishnan’s “Sugar Allegories.” These are quiet pieces that are a stark contrast to the show as a whole, yet if you look closely she does use her worms to add an additional subtext. At first, these paintings are simple watercolor (possibly ink) brushstroke studies. But upon closer scrutiny the viewer is treated to the intricate dance of her parasitic worms.
Re:View Contemporary is located at 444 W. Willis St., Detroit, and it is open Thursday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. You can contact them at 313-833-9000, and its website is reviewcontemporary.com.
On Friday, July 22 Taylor will perform Quantum Leap from 7 to 10 p.m. as part of the closing reception. The gallery advertises Taylor’s performance piece as “an installation/performance project that translates key principles of complex science into music and visual art.”