ICOSA's "Chiaroscuro: probing mystery, seeking clarity"
The first group show in the collective's new home shows its members stretching themselves and embracing change
Reviewed by Melany Jean, Fri., Nov. 2, 2018
An icosahedron is a 20-faced solid, a geometric configuration whose assemblage is difficult to parse and behold from a single vantage point. ICOSA takes its name from the same root, referencing its 20 collective members, each of whom contributed to the current group show. "Chiaroscuro: probing mystery, seeking clarity" is the first show to feature all members at the collective's new location in the Canopy complex. Annette DiMeo Carlozzi curated this "show of miscellanies" with the intention of providing a peek into what current members are working on and what's to come. Taken as a preview, much is promised.
In their pursuit of clarity, the artists are turning or returning to a variety of remarkable materials, put to visually arresting use. There are Terra Goolsby's slick, black porcelain and fur sculptures, Untitled 1 and Untitled 2, drooping over the side of a pedestal in the center of the room. In a corner, Teruko Nimura uses stretched natural hog casings and pressed ginkgo leaves like vellum paper, applying layers of thin material to resemble tree trunks with slightly hooved appendages for her series Hibakujumoku (The Survivor Trees). The adjacent wall presents Alyssa Taylor Wendt's UrGear: Dentata, a terrifying mask sculpture of porcelain denture teeth arranged in rows on a used athletic cup.
Flower Power – a collaborative work by new members Carlos Carrillo and Yevgenia Davidoff that is an installation of electrical hardware and acrylic panels, arranged in a chaotic complex of wires and light – and Erin Cunningham's sculptures of cast iron, refined coal, diamond, and slag both use their process as a cheeky examination of their materials, and vice versa. Meanwhile, Amanda Linn McInerney's folded mulberry paper, delicately strung and draped over a steel cube, inserts a subtle delicacy into the area.
"Chiaroscuro" feels like a potluck where every dish is dense and complex, an abundance. The group is experimenting with form and pushing their techniques. Another new member, Darcie Book, uses a process of acrylic paint applied to cotton and stuffed with fiberfill to create psychedelic, crumpled sculptures erupting from the wall. On a smaller scale, Jenn Wilson's oil paintings on copper show her using a familiar medium to charming new effect.
The new gallery at Canopy is smaller and less versatile in arrangements than ICOSA's old one. An open, rectangular display area means that upon entering, all the artwork is on view at once. With a collective as full and varied as ICOSA, a group show of everyone in this venue means that art fills every spot on the wall and floors, resulting in a space bursting with dynamic vibrancy.
The icosahedron can be an unwieldy structure, difficult to grasp on all its planes at once. Similarly, a show with 39 works by 20 artists of varying practices can be unwieldy, difficult to behold as a singular event. As a snapshot of the collective and the work its members are making now, though, "Chiaroscuro" shows ICOSA stretching itself and embracing change, flourishing as a community of convivial creation. Flag this as a space to watch.
"Chiaroscuro: probing mystery, seeking clarity"ICOSA Gallery, 916 Springdale, Bldg. 2, #102
Through Nov. 18