Christian de Vietri, The Gathering
Christian de Vietri (b.1981, Kalgoorlie, Australia) looks for moments of wonder as they exist in the material world. Often using a childlike sense of play to examine the materiality of objects, de Vietri inverts traditional patterns of behavior and characteristics of form. A bonfire evokes a multitude of connotations, from the festive to the sinister. Its intent may differ vastly, but its structure and function always remain the same: the bonfire is the centerpiece around which communities gather. The Gathering brings de Vietri’s distinct flair for finish and craft to the ultimate ephemeral construction. Individually cast aluminum branches and logs are stacked in an ordered pile to form a nearly six-foot-tall bonfire. Inherent in the process of its creation, the sculpture is both a prologue and epilogue to fire. The Gathering seems to be waiting for its spark, but in reality its spark has already been extinguished.
Michael DeLucia, Untitled (fences)
Michael DeLucia (b.1978, Rochester, NY) uses ordinary objects to explore the nature of abstraction. Styrofoam, shopping carts, mops, garbage cans, and—in this case—a chain-link fence, function as materials to determine form. Untitled (fences) is composed of thirteen panels of standard gauge chain-link fence spaced nine inches apart to create a twelve-foot square Minimalist cube. The overlapping layers produce a moiré pattern, which activates the space within the cube and triggers a desire to view the work from multiple angles. Shifting the grid’s alignment through movement, the design looks as if it is animated. Continuously transforming, Untitled (fences) evaporates into miniscule blocks of color to produce a portal into an abstract space.
Matt Irie and Dominick Talvacchio, Lamppost
Matt Irie (b.1977, Fort Wayne, IN) and Dominick Talvacchio (b.1976, Philadelphia, PA) have been working as a collaborative team since 2002. Spanning many media, their work investigates the idea that nothing is permanent but everything is in motion and changeable. Their intention is to walk the fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary, and the possible and impossible, as is the case with Lamppost. Along a row of lampposts, one appears to have mysteriously given way, folding under its own weight. Collapsed onto the lawn, the steel lamppost creates a large crater in the ground, suggesting the occurrence of a phenomenal event. Though impossibly bent, it improbably still works as a light. The artists’ reinterpretation of this everyday object permits it to function in a way that exceeds what is expected, emphasizing its malleability over its stability.
Natasha Johns-Messenger, ThisSideIn
Natasha Johns-Messenger’s work forces the viewer to experience space rather than simply look at it. For the lobby of One MetroTech Center, she creates a visual impossibility. Johns-Messenger (Melbourne, Australia) has constructed two freestanding architectural structures. Made of wood, both are perfectly symmetrical to the room’s clean lines and painted to blend in with its marble walls. Aesthetically ambiguous, the structures hold a visual playground within. Hidden mirrors positioned strategically inside trick the eye; instead of seeing interior space, the viewer is confronted with exterior space. Appearing to be an endless tunnel to another location, ThisSideIn is a visual circuit that leads to an unattainable outside.
Johannes VanDerBeek, Pilgrim Ghost
Johannes VanDerBeek (b.1982, Baltimore, MD) creates intricate, labor-intensive experiments in materiality and craft, often blurring the distinction between past, present and future. For Pilgrim Ghost, VanDerBeek produces the sensation of a time warp by superimposing two distinct images from two distinct times. The artist has sculpted a fantastic but realistic vision of a ghost. Conjuring an apparition from America’s history in downtown Brooklyn, the work takes on the appearance of a peg-legged pilgrim partially covered in a sheet like a long-forgotten memento. The artist has painted on the aluminum sculpture in a trompe l’oeil manner to merge details of the figure’s identity with those of the surrounding landscape. Emerging as a ghost, in both the literal and figurative sense, the form seems to disappear depending on the viewer’s vantage point.