This ceramic, glass, and steel art's beauty and wit will knock you on your ass
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., Sept. 3, 2010
Pump Project, 702 Shady Ln.
Through Sept. 18
Want to see some things that'll knock you out of your skull?
Painters render two-dimensional images of what they perceive or what they imagine they see in their heads. Sculptors
and ceramicists, glassworkers and metalsmiths, on the other (often heat-scarred) hand, wrest the very objects from their brain box and into the world, in as many shapes and shades as materials and industry will allow. The results of objectification will vary, of course, depending on the inciting idea, the skill of the artist, and what's used to manifest the thing.
You want to see the results of objectification that will knock you on your ass with their beauty and wit, with the brilliance of their creation? You want to see "Fired Up!" at Pump Project before what's on display is packed away (or, more likely, added to the private displays of savvy art collectors).
Micah Evans' large sculptures of borosilicate glass are represented by a dimpled octahedron of clear latticework pierced by a short and double-tapered black spear; try to picture that without a face-to-face eyeballing, and you'd fall short of its geometric impact even if William Gibson had described it. Easier: Evans also provides a giant bottle of Lone Star beer, rendered in the same latticelike, fully transparent style, called The National Sculpture of Texas; its bottle cap, also of borosilicate, sits nearby. Or how about a glass branch of realist orchids springing from a stunning art deco holder? It is to swoon.
Edmund Martinez brings his often macabre vernacular to bear on a set of dishes, bowls, and coffee cups decorated with skulls or profanity, the perfect accompaniment to a Shirley Jackson tea party with Constance and Merricat.
Mandy Sue Springer fills one corner of the gallery with an immense wooden beam upon which, as if growing there naturally, blooms a thick and staggered colony of fired-clay fungus that metastasizes from the dark substrate and climbs the bordering walls. There's a pair of headphones next to this gorgeous piece; put them on and be transported to the sculpture's native territory, richly evoked by Danny Glaser's complex soundscape.
Sun McColgin's signature works of angular steel are also part of this exhibition, their solidity providing an anchor to the delicate sailings of glass and porcelain that surround them. Glass: for instance, the stunning trio by Morgan Graff: Sea Glass, Luftballon, and Lemon & Lime, thick and brightly colored curves and sections of spheres of simple silicate beauty. Porcelain: Ryan McKerley's Bowl and Jar: like fine gifts some strangely diplomatic Dalek ambassador might present to a lucky Time Lord. And there's more, yes, also varied, by many others. And, as if what's already gathered isn't sufficient to make you wish you'd won the lottery to afford all of it at once, a few small stained-porcelain pieces by Jared Theis are on loan from D Berman Gallery.
This "Fired Up!" show at Pump Project displays much of what's possible when you mix materials with brains and skill; this "Fired Up!" show provides a dimension of art you'll be pleased to inhabit, however briefly.