Collagraphs for Sculpture
After his recent sculpture shows at Brattleboro Museum and Helen Day Art Center (VT) and Governor’s Island (NY), Rodrigo Nava debuts at C.X. Silver Gallery his series of collagraph prints, a book accompanying this exhibition, and selected sculpture in new installations inside and out front of the gallery. Inspired by textures and shapes of vessels and other objects of his home and studio, Nava sees these collagraphs “as much a part of my oeuvre as the sculptures themselves” and values both their relic-like qualities of uncertainty and imperfection as remnants of his processes and experiences and the sculptural qualities of way the collagraph plate is prepared. The show opens Saturday November 14 and run through March 2016. Please join us for the opening reception for the artist and book launch, Saturday, November 14, 4-6pm at the Gallery, 814 Western Avenue. Gallery hours, otherwise, are by appointment, calling ahead recommended, (802) 257-7898 or email@example.com.
The Expansion Series:
Early sculptures from this series were created through hydro-forming welded-steel sculptures. This soft form would shape the hard sculpture from the inside out creating a three-dimensional form out of a two dimensional plane. Weight, gravity and the spontaneous element of chance loomed large in these early pieces. As the work progressed using a different elemental states to shape these “hard” sculptures Rodrigo turned to a lighter element in the form of combustible gas.
The resulting shapes created from these forays into combustibles are reminiscent of animal skins, canteens, pillows and toy inflatable tops. Rodrigo wanted to convey the idea that these shapes are formed from pressurized steel is almost stressing instead their plasticity, their latent corpulence.
We are unsure what to make of steel forms that billow at their extremities and bulge at their seams. We are prepared to see steel arced and torqued as it can through machine rollers. We are used to seeing steel worked in seamless fashion as it holds its rigid nature through fabrication. But these sculptures do not allow one to maintain their set notions about the worked character of steel. They are impregnable objects one can attach one’s own qualification upon. They remain obtuse, like packages of events that have yet to be opened.
The combustible events that have occurred within the sculpture have occurred within a place in time. The weight of the steel structure is superseded by the weightless quality of the final form. Just as the ‘hand’ of the artist is superseded by the process itself. Like Rodrigo’s earlier work with stone, the final object is not about the object of art per se. Instead of having to bind his pieces like my previous stone works, these works are self-contained. An explosion is meant to reduce: “a violent, and destructive shattering or blowing apart of something.” Yet his objects reflect the transposition of the event without compromising their form. What we are left with is a much more subtle and softer record than his earlier pieces. These pieces are not so much a record of reductive nature of sculpture but the almost transcendent quality of the process that remains outside of the hand that operates within it. They take the artist’s role in the process out of it. The artist lights a fuse, and walks away.
- Rodrigo Nava: Collagraphs for Sculpture. Prints and expanded steel sculpture at C.X. Silver Gallery, Brattleboro, Vermont, November 14 2015 to March 26, 2016.
- Opening reception with the artist: Saturday November 14, 2015, 4-6pm, at C.X. Silver Gallery.
- Closing reception with the artist: Saturday March 26, 2016, 2-4pm, at C.X. Silver Gallery, 814 Western Avenue, Brattleboro, VT.
- Rodrigo Nava: Collagraphs for Sculpture, book accompanying the exhibition
- Rodrigo Nava at Brattleboro Museum through October 25.
- New York Times article on recent installations by Rodrigo Nava on Governors Island, NY.