Friday, March 01, 2013

WILLIAM CANNINGS at Cris Worley Fine Arts

Ascend/Descend, 2012
inflated steel, powder coat nylon
59 x 42 x 60 inches

A Repost from

One art movement I love a great deal is minimalism. It took until my last year as an undergraduate to even begin to appreciate this kind of art, but by the time I started writing about art, I was continually singing its praises. Now a great deal of art created today uses minimalism either as a further conversation with the ideas of quiet spaces, or deal with minimalism as a subversive agent. I have no doubt that William Cannings appreciates the minimalist aesthetics; however, he also doesn’t seek to take it too seriously.

It would seem that Cannings is mix matching the very Pop sensibility with the minimal approach. He uses a sleek single color finish on each piece, some are a car finish and other pieces are powder coat nylon. The sculptures come from everyday inflatable objects, which he tends to do in multiples. “Cairn,” is made up of 12 shiny purple inflated steel pillows. Each pillow is attached by the intake valve and the work can take different shapes each time it is displayed. Half the fun of seeing a multiple piece work by Cannings, is to see how he chooses to arrange the work from show to show.

I can’t help but think of Andy Warhol’s mylar helium balloons, or Jeff Koons’ inflated metal lobster or balloon animals. Several of Cannings works take the shape of Wahol’s famous installation pieces. I think this has as much to do with Cannings being influenced by Warhol as to the fact that Cannings is using similar available shapes. I think Cannings has managed to avoid falling into total kitsch like Koons, because Cannings keeps it simple, while allowing the interplay of multiple objects within one piece. Thus, a sense of amazement enters in, transcending the ordinariness of his subject matter. Cannings is right there on the edge of kitsch, which is a dangerous cliff to play near, but he clearly has a good handle on balancing his work.

Cannings recently took down a show in Houston of his massive inflated metal sculptures, which are slated to be up at Cris Worley Fine Arts. Cannings is showing some new works in this show, so I can’t wait to go to the opening this Saturday from 6 pm to 8pm. “Soft Cell,” is a great title for the show because this metal work only suggests softness, but if you ask Cris Worley or Cannings, I bet they might let you feel the piece for yourself. for more images.

No comments: