Tonight I attended the opening for “Colossal Spectacle” at the Bellwether Gallery. Adam Cvijanovic is a painter who works in Flashe and Latex paint on Tyvek. This current body of work is based on a film by D.W. Griffith called: Intolerance. The work that has resulted is all at once historic, yet presented in a modern way. The Tyvek is mounted on large wood panels and propped by planks creating an alcove in the back room of the gallery. This choice of exhibition alone is quite astonishing. I wormed my way through the gathered crowd, and took in the precise details of the figures, which are reminiscent of those from Renaissance works. The one modern element besides the exhibition method, is the fact that the piece has been painted entirely monochromatic in shades of a pale blue-ish purple. The faces of the figures appeared to be imagined, although I couldn’t help but scan the crowd both in the painting and the room, looking for a familiar face or one that was mirrored back at itself in Flashe. I remember very clearly the first time I saw Adam’s work at Bellwether. At the time he was painting “wallpaper” style and while the execution was similar, thematically the work was very different. In the past the artist has looked towards our natural environment and disaster. (A theme similar to that of artist currently showing at Like the Spice) Exquistly painted cars, and shards of aluminum siding flew from wall to wall in 2005’s “Love Poem (10 Minutes After the End of Gravity)”.
Untitled (Love Poem), detail, 2005 (Image courtesy of Bellwether website)
I remember at the time inquiring about “Flashe” as a medium. I wondered what it was and learned that it is similar to acrylic but obviously has a much cooler name. As a representational artist myself, Adam’s work is exciting. He has an obvious talent for capturing likeness, and a compositional style that reels the viewer in. For this particular exhibition, while technically astounding, I found the subject to be a bit boring. While history is known to repeat itself, I think that some more creative elements besides that of scale and presentation could have made their way into the piece. “Love Poem” in my opinion was more intellectually stimulating and relevant to our time. “Colossal” lacks the contemporary stimulation that I believe an audience (even an obscure art audience) is looking for. I recommend looking at this work though, and await the opportunity to read/speak about any analytical or visceral reaction that viewers may have.