Past Craft (fg) Star, Canadian Print Job (2), Space Junk (bg, left to right)
Reminiscent of structural engineering and material entropy
David Corbett's New Work at Linfield College
finally allows area viewers
the chance to take stock of an interesting artist who till now has been relegated
to too many group shows. Without the distractions of other artists we can now
survey works like Tower, Canadian Print Job, Space Junk and the intentionally
less remarkable Bore. You gotta love the counter intuitive idea of making one
little brown sculpture purposefully duller than the others. Nice move.
Tower (fg) Bore (bg)
Overall, Corbett's accretive sculptures resemble Eva Hesse's fleshy response
to geometric modernism but it's his use of paint as coating... call it the ectoplasm
of painting's history haunting a sculpture, which makes it interesting. It isn't
deconstruction either, instead it's accretive, like the post apocalyptic bones
of sculptures that have now sprouted fungal colonies. Think of the Herzog and
De Meuron's Birds Nest stadium dipped in black tar and you get the idea.
though this work is related to Rachel Harrison and other artists in the
show (which had been preceded by Thing at the Hammer Museum
etc.). Both shows had their roots in Rauchenberg's combines but Corbett's
approach is more abstract (a Portland thing with our hoard
of interesting abstract sculptors). One could also suggest Peta Coyne's more
organic work as a related approach.
Two closely related local artists neatly bracket Corbett's work, which isn't
as radical or original as Jesse
's nor is it as fully synthesized fusion of form and surface as that
. Still, it's good and with a little more time might find a more singular
niche, perhaps Corbett's counterintuitive wit will even find fuller expression?
It's still very worth the drive out to Mcminnville. The largest work in the
show, Past Craft, resembles the manifold superstructure of a crumpled Daniel
Libeskind building dipped repeatedly in crude oil and Star's surface with its
yellows reds and silver seems like the meeting of Buckminster Fuller and Jackson
Pollock. I particularly liked Space Junk as it went from dark globby grey at
the bottom to a bright yellow on top giving it a kind of garbage with a flower
appearance. The dramatic color treatment made the piece more extroverted and
We've seen some of these pieces like Past Craft before and my biggest problem
with the show is it feels like it needed a larger anchor piece for more variety
Overall, the show gets a little swallowed by the space, but only a little. The
other criticism is that this does seem pretty art school... I can't shake the
feeling that there are several MFA students doing this very same kind of thing
and most of the pieces work better as a group than as a singular object. Only
Past Craft and Space Junk are strong enough on their own.
Space Junk (fg) Star & Canadian Print Job (2) (bg, left to right)
Still this is well realized work (way beyond MFA) which deserves much more attention
and should appeal to anyone who also collects abstract painting. I also like
how this work is additive and not deconstructive (keeping with a more contemporary
heuristic understanding). The work slyly evokes all sorts of things such as
sea birds coated in crude oil to playground equipment coated in birdshit and
berries. It is exciting and I hope that we see more solo shows in Portland from
David that explore this body of work.