“Gos Sa Mer” vibrant at the Lynden
Santiago Cucullu and Ester Partegàs' indoor show speaks to the great outdoors of the Lynden Sculpture Garden. Also: Kat's weekend art datebook.
If you are visiting the Lynden Sculpture Garden for the first time, a preliminary stroll around the grounds might help put the centerpiece of Gos Sa Mer: Santiago Cucullu + Ester Partegàs in context. If you have been there before and want to plunge right into Gos Sa Mer, I recommend progressing from prints to T-shirts to monumental collaborative installation.
This temporary exhibition begins in the front foyer, behind the admissions desk. The series of six new inkjet prints by Cucullu, an Argentinean-born, Milwaukee-based artist, are on display there. Each of these large prints has a great sense of balance and dynamic play, as washes of bright, tropical colors float beneath hard-edge geometric forms. The abstract compositions connect to the physical world in nuanced ways. A pair of triangular shapes in Limb limb limb imply an extended arm and leg of a dancer. An especially lovely, delicate breath of contrast pops these shapes into a three-dimensional life, gently extending from the vibrant background. Many of these highly engaging works seem like collages of sharp shapes and agile color combinations. Don’t overlook them when you come in. The prints hang on either side and over the admissions desk, using the dominant wall in the window-filled room. This is display, though logical enough, is less than ideal, as you check out art in the airspace over someone’s head.
Ester Partegàs, a native of Barcelona currently based in Richmond, Virginia, contributes a series of 23 T-shirts to the show. Partegàs riffs on a color palette of bright reds, pinks, greens and everything in between. She airbrushes and paints crisp, linear designs augmented by softer washes of tones. The 1980s style vibe resonates with current trends in the fashion landscape.
The shirts hang on a tall, round rack in the center of an enclosed porch. The space is too small to show each work individually, which necessitates the gentle thumbing through the hanging shirts to see them all. Ah, to touch or not to touch the art? Is it simply clothing, or something more? Partegàs and Cucullu are interested in dichotomies such as nature versus culture and the industrial versus the organic. In the retail-store gesture of thumbing through clothing racks, we situate ourselves somewhere between art observer and consumer. Still, it would be satisfying to see all of the pieces simultaneously, perhaps on a mass of mannequins sporting this wearable art.
Once introduced to each artist solo, we are primed for their collaborative installation, Gos Sa Mer. It fills the entire main gallery with a buoyant spirit. They have papered the walls with black and white patterns derived from the overlap of trees, to create a web of nature. Large rectangular beams jut diagonally into the room, some candy-colored and others repeating the motifs of the walls. These interjectors reorganize the space of the viewer and create a sort of artistic funhouse. The rather magical indoor space refers to the forms found on the expansive grounds of the Lynden, with its muscular, modernist sculpture amidst the tapestry of trees. The name of the piece and the exhibition comes from the artists’ rumination on the word “gossamer.” As they stretched and revised the word, they have stretched and revised nature and art in many surprising, playful ways.