Poudretteite, 2016, Plexiglas, LED
60 x 32 x 32
The 1980’s birthed the picture generation, in the 1990’s identity art was reaching its zenith, 2000 to now is seeing the rise of the New Baroque. Ranging from an artist directly referencing the Baroque period like Kehinde Wiley to a more subtle approach like Chris Natrop with his paper cutouts, now showing at Nancy Toomey Fine Art in San Francisco. Somewhere in between is Adela Andea and her mirror reflective shapes and LED lit sculptures.
Currently, Adela Andea has a solo show at Cris Worley Fine Art. Andea’s work of the past 8 or 9 years might have been described as digital psychedelic or maybe rave art. Things were glowing, moving, and wires are running all over the place. In fact, the piece titled Jessant-de-lys still embodies this aesthetic. However, the rest of the show has moved into the realm of New Baroque. She says her trip to the Palace in Versailles, France help shape this body of work, and I can see the influence quite clearly, especially in the piece titled Hall of Fragmented Mirrors. The reflective surfaces have the look of something expensive and extravagant, but the little triangle pieces are so thin and delicate that you fear getting close, so as not to break them.
Another New Baroque artist is Jeff Koons. I remember reading several articles about his show at Versailles. His over the top, extravagant art at the palace came with mixed reviews, but I thought his work fit completely with the surrounding aesthetics. Koons’ work is about kitsch and the French Monarch’s attempt to build a paradise away from Paris and the people’s problem. This was also an exercise of kitsch that ultimately ended in tragedy. Another New Baroque artist is Joana Vasconcelos. She showed her garish art objects that illustrate the absurdity of luxury. Some New Baroque are critical of excess and others embrace luxury, I think Andea’s work is more ambivalent on the topic. Her work invokes the ideas of splendor without embracing over the top expression.
Though that might not be the case for her piece titled Poudretteite. The title of the sculpture is named after an extremely rare, pink mineral. Of course, the piece is pink and though abstract, still seems to reference a body or dress. I see a clearer picture that Andea is using this sense of opulence as something to tap into and explore. It feels positive and playful. I just can’t decide if she is also pushing the boundaries between fine and decorative art or blazing a trail for abstract art. Either way, she has made me think about her show for weeks.
Adela Andea will be up till September 3rd at Cris Worley Fine Art. You might also see another example of this New Baroque art at the Dallas Contemporary. Paola Pivi’s feather bears are extremely Baroque.