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Jeremy Thomas
Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona
Recommendation by Deborah Ross

Jeremy Thomas, "Falcon Orange," 2016, cold rolled steel, epoxy and urethane, 68 x 68 x 21 1/2"

Continuing through February 11, 2017

Initially Jeremy Thomas’s inflated steel sculptures — some roly-poly in shape, some spreading like wings — appear to be playful experiments in visual association. They warrant a deeper look, though, for their sensual use of geometry, color, process and material. A New Mexico-based artist, Thomas wryly titles this solo show of moderately scaled wall and floor sculptures “Non-functional Slack-fill.” The fabrication process usually involves heating teardrop shapes of metal until they are supple, inflating them, then folding, twisting, cutting and variously manipulating the components, before welding or epoxying it all together. The steel is slowly inflated when it’s cold, giving the artist more control over how bulbous each work will be.

Playfulness characterizes “Red Glow,” which resembles a white spaceship and yields surprising details. The red on the underside of the wall piece helps it “glow.” On the left is a half-dollar-size hole that creates two white holes within the sculpture’s shadow on the wall. At either end, the tips are just slightly folded, like the wings of an origami bird. Thomas takes joy in color experiments as well, which means the pieces hop from electric greens, blues and yellows, to glittery purple and gold, to oxidized sheets of rust. Another wall piece, “Falcon Orange,” celebrates symmetry with a vertical line at eye level that divides the mango-orange side from the silver side. Underlying it all is a seriousness of purpose, of an artist wanting to stretch the possibilities of a typically unyielding material. The results capture and then hold our attention.

Bentley Gallery

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