Friday, July 18, 2014


Untitled 2014, trash bags & glue,  67x67 inches re-post of my article

I often take notice of what art captivates my six year old son’s attention. I enjoy his reaction to art and like talking to him about what he sees. The boy is a pro at navigating the art scene. He always asks if he can touch the art or he asks to visit the back storage rooms. Truly, the apple did not fall very far on these points.

Conduit’s exhibition of Sandra Ono captured both our attention. These recycled objects glued together create visually stunning organic shapes. My son though she had grown them. “Are these crystals,” he exclaimed, while in front of her sculpture of trash bags. I explain to him the material, but I don’t think he was convinced. I also had this first impression that Ono had grown them, until I observed the works closer. My mind also reflected on the Post-Minimalist like works by Eva Hesse, or Robert Morris’ felt pieces. Maybe Ono is closer to the Conceptual art of Tom Friedman. Friedman uses ordinary objects like toothpicks and pencil shavings to make extraordinary art pieces. You might be familiar with locally shown artist, Jessica Drenk. Her pencil sculptures are a different take, but I feel Ono is definitely working in similar range of ideas and aesthetics. In fact, recycling has been preached the last few generations, so it is no wonder this idea of repurposing objects into art has become a kind of movement.

While observing Sandra Ono’s work made of mop head, my son bent over, simulating the bend Ono’s sculpture was making. This seemed perfectly logical to me, so I too gave his choice of viewing the work a try. Of course, he asked to touch this one, which I discharged him not to try. I, however, did have the urge to touch it myself. I wanted to reach out and feel the texture of the glue and mop heads. I discouraged my own impulses as well. Ono was still installing part of her cluster of smaller pieces when I arrived. In these pieces, Ono proves that her objects do not need scale to give power to her idea. Each of these little pieces held their own as more than just studies, but little treasures of recycled obsessions.

Once again, Conduit’s project room gives you the best possible sensory overload. Rosalyn Bodycomb’s birds would not have been as impressive in a conventional painting, but Bodycomb creates a flock of birds, complete with sound. Each canvas is small and some birds are cropped, then finished on the next canvas. This adds to the feeling of a chaotic flock of birds. My son was excited about the birds hanging from the ceiling, but I was less enthusiastic. I thought the paintings and sound was enough. Ellen Berman also has her take on traditional still lives. My son liked naming the objects. Conduit will have all three artists up until June 21st. Thankfully, everyone at Conduit Gallery are extremely accommodating to my son and I on our visits.

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