Arte Povera had its pinnacle in the 1970’s when found objects were utilized and elevated as works of art. Making something beautiful out of detritus has been a special skill by some artists that fall into the – reduce, reuse and recycle – mantra so prevalent nowadays.
Arte Fuse attended the opening reception for the dual shows of Matthew Kirk: Push Came to Shove and Kelly Jazvac: Thermoloaded at Louis B. James gallery last April 22, 2012.
Matthew Kirk presented a variety of small to large scale works on paper and also an abstract sculpture at the front window made out of bicycle materials with construction debris. His drawings are done in chalk, pencil, ink and gouache with a free wheeling static quality that is also cartoonish making a fantasy world picking up from the artist’s Navajo origins. The colors are referenced to a washed down aesthetic of traditional hues found in ceremonial paintings or clothing embellishments but the dark zigzags are thunderbolt symbolisms largely found in Native American Indian culture run amuck to give it a violent streak. There is a skillful mix of Kirk’s context of his origins but balanced with architectural details or creating a spiritual vignette. His found object sculpture is a testament of his deft handling of humble and discarded materials.
Kelly Jazvac sculpted her pieces from salvaged adhesive vinyl from commercial printers, as their refuse or mistake becomes her artistic gain. Using vinyl adhesive of advertisements or signage discarded from billboards, sides of buses, and fabricators waste bins that Jazvac engages the viewer to consider the ephemeral tendencies of art but using a material that is up for a limited time but in the landfill forever. The forms of her sculptures remind you of draped flags, wrinkled skin, or body bags that can be also seen as abstract paintings. The bold color sense makes you consider her work as more than a re-tooling of other people’s mistakes or discards. They are thoughtful and imbued with new life.
Both artists understand that in art there is such a thing as finding beauty in the unwanted and treasure in the heap of detritus. The careful consideration of concept and handling is what elevates their pieces into the realm of contemporary art. As the new vanguards of Arte Povera, they might as well push the trigger and let the ballistic fallout rain down a slew of new ideas.
Mathew Kirk: Push Came to Shove & Kelly Jazvac: Thermoloaded
On View: April 22 – May 25, 2012
Gallery Hours: Wed, to Sat. (11 am – 6 pm) & Sundays (12 – 6 pm)
Louis B. James Gallery. 143B Orchard Street. New York, NY 10002
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan