At Fiat Lux, Randy Colosky’s exhibition last year at the now-closed Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco, the artist presented several impressive sculptures: “Axis Mundi” consisted of about seven hundred metal shower rods suspended from the ceiling like a 3D graphic of rain; “The McNear Attenuation” laid 2,600 custom-made bricks across the floor of the museum with their uneven sides facing up to create a jagged, perceptually engaging field; “Another Shape of Things to Come — Part 2” consisted of metallic spheres (garden ornaments, in fact) welded together in a crystalline formation.
The materials of these works now fill the space of Chandra Cerrito Contemporary for Another shape of things that happened again, although, as the exhibition title suggests, in different formations. The bricks of “The McNear Attenuation” now constitute “A Hollow Gesture,” a circular well about four feet high and seven feet in diameter; “Axis Mundi” is now “Ghost in the Machine,” an arrangement for which Colosky sawed the shower rods in half and stacked them in a cubic frame, resulting in something resembling a giant pin impression toy. The garden balls of “Another Shape of Things to Come — Part 2” are there, too, but have been sawed apart and recombined in a more molecular looking structure, “Part 4.”
This process of ongoing, transformative iteration has become a hallmark of Colosky’s practice. The artist alters the topologies of his pieces almost compulsively, partly out of enthusiasm for new ideas, partly out of distaste for any gesture of finalization that would render the pieces inert. “If things get too precious to me its stalls my process and gets boring,” said Colosky.
This practice obviously raises questions about the nature of the art object. Are we to consider Colosky’s reconfigurations as iterations of a single, mutating work, or separate works that happen to share the same materials? And what of the artist’s intention? Many of the pieces yield surprises in their de- and reconstructions that then become (temporarily) crucial to their form — for instance, the metal shavings that Colosky’s sawing left within the sepia-gray tubes of “Ghost in the Machine” lend a glittering effect to what otherwise would have been a more uniformly industrial-looking piece.
Colosky shies away from such formulations altogether. Having spent much of his creative professional life in construction and the culinary arts, outside the art world and its market-driven demand for creative signature, he instead offers a fresh perspective:
“Everything I make is part of a larger artistic drive to build upon my vocabulary. It’s how I try to share with the viewer the inspiration of actually creating, as well as my ideas themselves.” Moreover, Colosky said, “this happens all the time in nature — it’s how the natural world works. Elements just keep rearranging themselves in the act of creation and destruction. I’m certainly not doing anything new here — just emulating a reality that already exists.”
Another shape of things that happened again runs through March 28 at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary (480 23rd St., Oakland). 510-260-7494 or ChandraCerritoContemporary.com