Monday, June 22, 2009

Space is the Place: Rebecca Ripple at Kristi Engle and Mauricio Espinosa at Steve Turner Contemporary

Space to a sculptor has always been both a friend and a foe. It has alluded the sculptor in the pursuit of new visual language. Is the object created as something in space? Or is the object the space created out of nothing? What happens when the space becomes a vehicle for not only the space as existence, but also a place where the memory and yearning dwell in one single place. Two sculptors, Mauricio Esponosa and Rebecca Ripple, address these issues in their recent solo shows at Steve Turner Contemporary and Kristi Engle galleries.

Entitled Velvet Involution, Rebecca Ripple's solo show at Kristi Engle Gallery explores memory, religion and spirituality in both sculpture and text. The pieces are made of
mix media of clothing, wire, paper and other material and invoke references to Catholicism such as the work "Flock of Nuns" where wire constructs flying habits that take off from the gallery floor. Other pieces in the gallery are biomorphic in their shape and composition. The viewer can catch words on the pieces such as God and or phrases such "me please me." The works invoke a conflict between the spiritual and material. Material such as plaid skits remind me of experiences in Catholic school. But Ripple does not fully embrace Catholicism nor does she reject it. Instead they are objects in space used to signify certain memories and conflicts that arise when ideas such as consumerism and spirituality meet.

Mauricio Espinosa's solo show entitled, The Traveler Dilated, currently at Steve Turner Contemporary, explores space as means of both literary narrative and spiritual journey. The shows title is derived from a "Andrei Tarkovsky's film, Stalker, in which the protagonist is led by a guide through an abandoned and desolate landscape in search of a magical destination. Disappointed to discover its non-existence, the traveler finds solace in his journey as he was able to see both nothing and the possibility of something extraordinary in his mind." Press Release, The Traveler Dilated, Mauricio Espinosa, Steve Turner Contemporary 2009. Espinosa's sculpture is the result of that journey. The sculpture is abstract and in fine detail reveal an inner turmoil between the organic and the orderly. They grow into something magical and almost living in their construction. Mixed with color and spontaneity, these works show the result of a journey where space is the place where spirit and the unattainable becomes something celebrated.

Both Espinosa and Ripple are sculptors that utilize space as means to explore both the spiritual, and the material combined with literary and memory. These are two definite must see shows.

Rebecca Ripple “Velvet Involution"
June 6 - July 4, 2009
Reception: Saturday, June 6th, 7-10pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, June 28th, 2pm
Gallery hours: Thursday - Saturday 12 - 6pm & by appointment
Kristi Engle Gallery
5002 York Ave.
Highland Park, CA 90042

Mauricio Espinosa
The Traveler Dilated
June 6 - July 2, 2009
Wednesday through Saturday, 11am - 6pm, or by appointment
Steve Turner Contemporary
6026 Wilshire Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90036 (across from BCAM at LACMA)
(323) 931-3721

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