Arielle Falk & Robbie McDonald
13 January to 12 February 2017
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The work of Arielle Falk relies on the symbiosis of obliteration and reconstruction. Our collective notions of fantasy metaphorically melt away under Falk’s guidance; orange sunsets, lush palm trees, and serene blue water, char and shrivel in this new body of work. Originally meant as wall ornamentation, Falk undermines the nature of oversize seascape murals. By applying extreme heat to the surfaces, Falk carefully destroys these photographic depictions of beach paradise. The subsequent wilted remnants create a new medium for restoration; twine is also introduced as a vehicle for transfiguration. Leafy branches disintegrate and regenerate all at once as the burnt photo scraps are fastened back together. In some instances, the image is almost completely dissolved, leaving only the twine to recreate the picture plane. In other materializations, the string is anchored to the gallery floor, lifting the mural fragments away from the wall. The culminating form mimics a nautical sail, billowing three-dimensionally and sculpting the space both in front and behind it. These crippled daydreams hover in front of the viewer as a reminder of flux and desire.

Akin to Falk’s mode of linear expression, Robbie McDonald’s sculptural works define space with scribbles of light. An array of neon “fountains” form the perimeter of the gallery space. The base of the pieces are built from anodized aluminum baseball bats. The anodizing process of electrochemically coating a durable color finish on metal becomes a significant metaphor. McDonald figuratively animates this concept of electrification by oozing neon light the same pigments as the bats, shooting out from the bases and arching back down toward the floor. At times the baseball bats are stacked and mirrored double high, creating an undulating totem-like form. The neon continues this undulation but with more freedom; the loose mark-making in space defies the rigid nature of its physicality. The neon drawings illuminate the room in correspondent RGB color model hues from reds to greens to blues. McDonald’s wall-mounted pieces implement Gore-Tex, a material often used for outdoor recreation equipment. The artist subverts this material by draping it off the wall and layering it in energetic shapes. A lively mark of neon light weaves through the flaps of breathable, waterproof fabric. A new experience is created for the viewer in which flat darkness is pierced with an articulation of phosphorescent glow. McDonald’s work holds a powerful physical presence; drastically transforming the space around it. In the aftermath, the viewer is left to contemplate the enveloping luminosity of the gallery against the cold hard metal of the baseball bats. The threat of violence thwarted by the overflowing energy of light.