The work of three artists – Pard Morrison, Elliot Norquist, and Jeremy Thomas – will be featured in a group exhibition, “Heavy Metal,” presented by Charlotte Jackson Fine Art. The exhibition will run from July 28 through August 28. An Opening Reception with the artists will be held on Friday, July 28 from 5-7 p.m. The gallery is located in the Railyard Arts District at 554 South Guadalupe Street.
Does the sculpture bend or is it the mind that curves to meet it? With their brilliant colors, lively geometries, and insistent physicality, the metal sculptures included in “Heavy Metal” challenge perception, engross, and invigorate. Aquamarine, fuchsia, lime, neon yellow, fire-engine red, popsicle orange — the colors themselves take center stage as one first enters the gallery space. But quickly these sculptures (both floor pieces and wall works), shaped and bent, perforated and twisted, quickly engage space as well as color.
Each of the artists whose work is included in “Heavy Metal” is a master of metal – whether aluminum or steel. Balancing the weight and materiality of the metal with eye-popping color and intricate forms, Pard Morrison, Elliot Norquist, and Jeremy Thomas manage to merge stimulating and serious art with playful provocativeness.
Pard Morrison, who works with 1/8” aluminum plate, does all of his own complex fabrication – cutting, welding, and sanding to create his colorful patch-work cubes and the puzzle-piece wall hanging sculptures. The paint is a mix of airplane enamels and solvents that allow Morrison to be able to hand-paint the works before they are fired in industrial ovens, one color at a time. The cubes are 3D constructions covered in stacked blocks of colors – offset in places to induce optical illusions of interiors or layers. The wall pieces appear as elaborate geometrical cut-outs, like cubes unfolded two-dimensionally on the wall in strange and inexplicable ways. Like the cubes, the colors of these pieces also work both with and against the form, dazzling the eye into believing it sees depths, turns, and shadows, which are not there. With their visual language of hard-edge color and op-art form, these pieces dialogue with the work of earlier masters like Frederick Hammersley and Ellsworth Kelly.
Elliot Norquist brings his familiar combination of spare elegance and joyful exuberance to the pieces included in “Heavy Metal.” Unlike the more 2D wall sculpture of Morrison, Norquist’s pieces burst from the wall: cubes, triangles, half-circles. Using a combination of solid and perforated steel, these recent works add a new dimension to Norquist’s visual vocabulary, highlighting the interior as well as exterior and challenging viewers’ perceptions of both color and form. For example, the three-dimensional square, “Shadow Play,” with its black-painted, perforated front surface creates an illusion of inversion at certain angles. A hint of blue can be seen through the bright yellow surface of “Three Yellow Rectangles.” Norquist’s genius in pairing forms, such as “Yellow Half-Round,” with its arced yellow-orange wedge installed just above and off-center of a long lime and blue rectangle creates a kind of mysterious typography of shape across the walls.
Finally, Jeremy Thomas’ inflated steel sculptures literally “round out” the exhibition with their more organic shapes, curves, scoops and puckers. Not that there aren’t edges and angles here – but the action of inflating these steel constructions adds an element of chance and flow to these often mysterious and always intriguing works. Once known for his exclusively forge-fired and inflated works, Thomas has since discovered new methods for cold-inflating pieces with pressurized air, which opened up a whole new range of shapes and sizes to his vocabulary. Thomas’ palette of colors, often contrasted or paired against a soft rust patina, are endlessly provocative – sometimes seamlessly amplifying a form while at other times creating a startling visual dissonance. Whether it is one of Thomas’ vast floor pieces or one of his strange and dynamic wall-hung sculptures – these works always entice and enthrall with their combination of subtle and overt materiality.
Highlighting the work of three masters of metal, the summer exhibition “Heavy Metal,” promises to bend both space and mind with its brilliant color and thought-provoking forms.