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Art Review:

Pondering what can’t be touched

March 06, 2010|By Melonie Magruder

The new exhibit at the Brand Library Art Galleries is a bit like that YouTube video showing images of subatomic particle quarks magnified larger and larger till you see an entire galaxy.

In “Macrocosms & New Topographies,” the four artists explore the physical world from the macro to the micro with fresh media combinations and compelling images that cast an outlier’s eye on our environment.

Christine Weir offers several series of graphite on paper, mounted on panel, that gives new, intense, meaning to pencil work. Her “Lake” series shows a bird’s-eye view of different bodies of water in silhouette (“Lake Summer,” “Cochiti Lake”) laid over concentric circles that could be light sources or could be that proverbial end-of-life tunnel that people with near-death experiences describe.

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In exhibit notes, Weir said she overcame a profound fear of flying through special therapy that encouraged her to glance out an airplane window and appreciate a new perspective. Scanning Google Earth allowed her to indulge her attraction to airports, farms, lakes and governmental sites, incorporating all into her art from a distant but focused point of view.

There are many circles and orb-like variations in the exhibit — small worlds seen through the artists’ eyes, and each has a different level of trust in those worlds below.

One of Weir’s series shows vaguely military map-like silhouettes or what look like rifle scopes floating over white lights, with titles like “Basrah” and “Kirkuk.” It’s unsettling and starkly beautiful.

David Jang employs soda cans, wood, wax, oil, stain and even paper towels dipped in resin in his sculptural work, echoing those endless concentric circles like a Slinky on large panels that are tactile and satisfying. You feel he really handled his material, taking it from discarded rubbish to graceful imagery.

Jang said in his exhibit notes, “I find the experience of viewing this material within our environment as a sort of urban formalism. . .  fearing that there’s so much trash, people don’t see it anymore.” He fixes that problem by deconstructing the detritus to use as his medium, and his resulting sculpture is astonishing.

In “Novelty,” Jang uses inverted potato chip bags, chicken wire and binder clips to create huge, silver pieces that resemble hydrangea blossoms. Jeff Koons wishes he were as creative.

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