Continuing through January 29, 2016
The incursion of non-art (i.e., ordinary, humble) materials into fine art began a century ago with Cubism and remains for many in the art world the suggested, if not mandatory, blow struck against elitism. Of course recycled materials do not ipso facto guarantee good results. Anybody can use a stuffed goat, but it was Rauschenberg’s pictorial smarts that made his 1959 combine sculpture “Monogram" work. Assemblagists Clint Imboden and Emiliio Lobato both use recycled and found objects for, in Imboden’s words, “their connotative, associative [and] narrative possibilities.” Happily both bring a rigorous sense of form, melding beauty, wit and aesthetic meaning to their work.
Imboden’s two “Dandelion" sculptures are spheres composed of found screwdrivers, their plastic handles protruding from unseen globes into which they’ve been inserted. The wall-mounted “Measure” and "Measure Broken" pieces are composed of folding rulers that the artist found at flea markets, arranged by length into zigzags, or into geometric shapes that recall Frank Stella's stripe paintings. "Yard Squared Horizontal #2" is a 36 x 36 inch wall sculpture of approximately 144 laminated yardsticks, a conceptual core sample.
Lobato explores the idea of measurement, too, but in his case, with a subtle memento mori subtext and commentary on “the futility of accumulating and assessing the number of friends on Facebook, money in bank accounts, the size of our home and automobiles.” His assemblages on panel, incorporating pages from old enyclopedias, covers from old books, rivets and folding rulers are formalist abstractions, but also shrines or commemorations of the sacred (if only we knew it) quotidian. "Comensando y Terminado con Picasso," a long, horizontal panel featuring halves of a familiar Pablovian self-portrait at each end (and implying that the painting could be remade into a cylindrical ring, á là Jasper Johns), pays homage to the immeasurable, infinite impact of the bastard who did everything (to paraphrase Pollock). The large works “Knifewing" and "Magia Tropical" update the Synthetic Cubist collage tradition for the DIY/home-improvement age.