Thursday, December 27, 2012

Brushed metal work in the "Caustic Compositions" show

The Weekly Volcano, Dec. 27,2012
by Alec Clayton

"Smolder," lacquer and acids on aluminum by Devin Reynolds
Burnished metal art is like glass art in this respect: It's natural beauty can be so enticing that the artist doesn't really have to do much of anything. It's so easy to get by with just a nice surface. Luckily for visitors to Fulcrum Gallery, artist Devin Reynolds brings a nice aesthetic sense to his brushed metal work in his show, "Caustic Compositions."

"Drain," lacquer and acids on aluminum by Devin Reynolds
A wall statement in the gallery says he uses such unusual materials as brushes, a custom paintball gun and a flamethrower. The individual pieces are all labeled as lacquer and acids on aluminum. In other words, Reynolds uses various caustic substances to erode and corrode and otherwise mark the aluminum surfaces of his pieces. The marks he thusly creates are remindful of sky and water and clouds. Many of them look like star fields, planets and galaxies.

A typical, and one of the nicest pieces, is "Drain." It is mostly a golden orange monotone with swirling marks like the rings of Saturn. The interesting thing about this piece and many other similar ones is that if you move side-to-side while viewing it you will see amazing depths - not illusions of perspective, but the kind of depth you see when looking through 3-D glasses. We've entered the world of Avatar in abstract art.

Quite different and hanging immediately above "Drain" is a piece called "Stranded." It is a long, horizontal format with swirling and curling tentacles or something that looks like bolts of electricity in some Doctor Frankenstein laboratory. The meandering bolts start large on the left side and get smaller and modulate in color from a deep red-orange through yellow to metallic gray as they move across the black surface.
Similar to "Drain" is "Smolder," which is painted on a series of four square and rectangular sheets of aluminum with a flowing series of overlapping silver lines and little bubble-like marks and globular shapes that looks like acid was poured and allowed to puddle. And "Blue Ruin," a similar painting is soft blue and rich, golden sienna with circular linear marks that appear to be deep within the surface.

Less atmospheric less like a voyage into outer space is "Lost in a Seat of Sand," which is a restful cerulean blue piece with horizontal marks like slight ripples in a pond.

Color plays a large part in Reynolds' paintings. They are mostly monochromatic in tones of red, gray, purple, green, blue and yellow. The surfaces are definitely beautiful. These are commercial looking pieces that look like they were designed for industrial architectural spaces or to go in boardrooms or waiting rooms in corporate headquarters. I have a hard time thinking of them as art, but rather I see them as commercial adjuncts to architectural design.


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