the planet of the bulbs: Victoria Palermos Starship.
College Museum of Art, through Sept. 26
Imagine a world with luminous, globular towers in shiny candy
hues (towers with names like Blue Haze, Starship
and Barcelona Dream). The sky and the horizon bleed
together into a sheet of kaleidoscopic patterns of aqua, salmon,
hot pink and tangerine. Imagine the spires standing in glassy,
cloud-shaped pools that mimic their radial foundations, reflecting
their slick billowy forms and the psychedelic flourish of
their environment. In this world, everything is organic in
form, brilliant in color, and fantastical in essence. Dreamlike
as it is, this world exists in real space. In a tiny room
at Williams College Museum of Art, Victoria Palermo has created
a sphere of fantasy and wonderment she calls Flo-mation.
The title of the installation is a reference to the suspended
state of flux that her work inhabits. The towers seem to be
melting into their mirrored bases, or growing from them. They
ooze, or they gel. They drip, or they rise. The direction
of their transformation is unclear, but their state of becoming
is as lucent as their smooth bright surfaces. Palermo achieves
this fluidity through the glistening drips and puddles that
result from pouring molten rubber over hollow armatures, a
technique she began to develop about four years ago, in response
to a studio accident.
Before the leaky mold (which lead to a viscous puddle on her
studio floor), Palermo had been casting rubber, creating
solid bio-morphic structures that bridged nature with a modern,
manufactured sensibility. She was drawn to the seductive forms
created by the rubber as it poured out, and began to incorporate
them into her work, finding new ways to explore the ever-blurring
line between the natural and the artificial. In this vein,
the pieces in Flo-mation are built in accord with the
inherent properties of the material, but are sometimes arranged
to defy gravity, trickling upward or reaching outward from
their vertical stems.
The tower structures are not representational in any specific
way, leaving room for viewers to connect with the organic/artificial
dichotomy in their own ways. In both their colors and their
forms, they contain all at once references to jewels, flowers,
candy, toys, music, counter-culture, architecture, art history
and the internal human body.
The colors largely flow together in seamless gradations; from
cerulean blue to teal, from lemon yellow to mango, cotton
candy to raspberry to garnet, deep purple to burgundy to chocolate.
In some places, the stream is interrupted by clear demarcations
or color; like slender yellow tubes with pink bulbous caps,
or a sky-blue umbrella shape dripping profusely around a mango-colored
column. This gives the sculptures a more grounded sense of
structure, a punctuation of sorts for the more fluid passages.
The pieces range in size from one foot to ceiling height,
but seem to lend themselves readily to imaginary scale in
relation to the viewer. You can approach the room as a giant
to a candy counter, with every imaginable flavor to choose
from. Or you can step into a dreamy, futuristic city full
of whimsical skyscrapers, and take a little elevator all the
way to the top of a pink onion dome. Bring your imagination.
This installation reflects a sensibility informed by a whole
host of images and concepts, but maintains its own distinct
identity, which is centered in its surreal organic quality,
and sense of magic. The enchantment of Flo-mation not
only seeps from the sculptural forms, but exists in the spaces
between them, reflects from the mirrored bases and wraps the
room in it with its vivid wall covering.
Recent Art of Robert Moylan
Center Galleries through Aug.21
In The Recent Art of Robert Moylan at Albany
Center Galleries, this soft-spoken, Cohoes-born
painter of landscapes sings beautifully in vivid
color and seductive light. Painting after painting
demonstrates his passion and dedication to the
building blocks of artistic expression; the chronicle
of nearby locations is just a side result.
Moylan revels in glowing skies, snowed-under cornfields,
summer haze-soaked ski mountains and purple shadows.
His technique of layering opaque water-based gouache
creates a surprising amount of depth and complexity,
while looking different from a variety of distances.
Far away, the broad areas of rich blue, green
or orange beckon; up close, a delicate interweaving
of brushstrokes captivates.
Itís pretty decorative stuff, but in my book thatís
no crime so long as itís got soul; Moylanís blue-collar
Irish heart shines right through these gorgeous,
meticulously crafted paintings.