Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Your mind: blown"

David Katz caught in his own network
  On Friday morning, my friend JT Tannous turned all YODA on me to describe the upcoming exhibit at the Coconino Center for the Arts. "Your mind: blown,"  he said.  I was deeply affected by his minimalism.

  Tannous and gallery director Robin Cadigan had just offered to give me a sneak preview of "Across the Divide"  during the installation process.  Then I found out that  Steve Schaeffer, one of the faculty members in the NAU Ceramics Department was the juror for the show, and in fact had been planning it for two years.  Now I had to go!  How wonderfully compelling this all was on a Friday afternoon!!

  "Across the Divide" is basically a sculptural ceramic show that pushes beyond traditional clay boundaries with large size, different techniques, or strange and interesting figurative subject matter.  It will be a fantastic addition to Flagstaff's summer art scene. 

  One of the best things about the exhibit is the process of putting it together.  This is no ordinary painting-on-a-wall type of show.  For instance, David Katz and his assistant, Shauna Cahill, hauled 600 lbs. of clay in from Indiana for their piece.  The piece is really fascinating, with its parabolic shapes and bone-like ladders, connecting to grids that contain joints. Katz calls it a "mediated landscape" with very architectural spaces, "an external world and interior world symbiosis organization."

David Katz and Shauna Cahill work on "Confluent Systems II"
  It's big, too.  Over 1/2 a mile of electrical fence wire was used, and over 300 pounds of raw clay was formed over the wire.  Katz said in Indiana, the clay would take a couple of weeks to dry completely, but in Flagstaff it only took 48 hours!

  "It's kind of like an artifact--evidence of the passage of time," Katz said about his piece.  Does that mean that time goes by faster in Flag?

  Other pieces required a lot of work to install as well, and I encourage you to imagine the process of putting everything together. They really took time, and then the artists have to come back and tear it all down!  It's so ephemeral!!  I just imagine, as an artist (and a viewer,) you dare not get too attached to the finished pieces.  It's like you have to love them sideways, so you can see out of the corner of your heart, and then maybe you'll be able to let them go.

  Or as Yoda says, “Death is a natural part of life...Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.”

  In the meantime, catch these pieces while they're alive!  The show opens June 2, 6-8 p.m. and runs through July 28.

This 20 foot wide piece took 6 people to install.

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