Simon Preston Gallery is pleased to announce the third solo exhibition by Michelle Lopez at the gallery, which will open to the public on Sunday 16 November and run until Sunday 11 January, 2015.
Within the exhibition, Lopez presents two distinct bodies of work, comprising of a stark flagpole installed through the center of the gallery, and a series of large-scale leaning glass sculptures, that the artist has mirrored by hand.
The statement, “it was a banner year” implies a period of waving flags to signify success. A banner’s automatic notion of triumph becomes ubiquitous in public spaces. Lopez takes these cues and eliminates the banner, to lay bare its function: to mitigate our own human fears.
Titled ‘Halyard’, the work in the front gallery consists of the base of a 40ft. flagpole extending from the floor through the roof of the gallery, with its halyard and cleat clearly visible. The amplified sound of a gigantic flag whipping in the wind is strategically installed throughout the gallery – while the synchronized subtle movement of the rope, in tension with the cleat, alludes to the motion of an actual flag flapping high above the gallery roof. As the sound swells violently throughout the space, the halyard mirrors the movement of a flag in motion. The gesture of removal drains the “flag” of its primary purpose of nationalism and patriotism. The sound of a flag then becomes its own character.
In the back of the gallery, Lopez has poured free-form silver nitrate liquid onto large-scale, architectural glass. Through a process of light exposure, Lopez uses ultraviolet rays to adulterate the mirror coating chemically, to register a pattern of iridescent smoked explosions. The materiality of its mirror-ness means that the object appears and disappears, reflects it’s surrounding in a constant state of flux. This combination of elements creates an ephemeral floating state of a mirror cloud hovering on a crystal clear space.
Lopez creates the experience of absence in the wake of an “explosion”. What sculptural form and material does the phenomenon of an explosion take? Does it come through the object’s disappearance? Is it personified by the aftermath in the form of a billowing smoke cloud? Through the removal of the image, replaced by a mirrored smoke cloud, the work quite literally reflects ourselves, creating a new kind of sublime landscape.
Sound design and consultation courtesy of Jonathan Mildenberg and Andy Clifford. With special thanks to Mehran Arbab of Glass Science and Technology at PPG Industries, Inc.
Michelle Lopez received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York and BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include; The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Connecticut, curated by Amy Smith-Stewart, 2014; Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paris, 2012; Simon Preston, New York, 2011 & 2009; LA><ART, Los Angeles, 2008, among others. She was included in Greater New York, PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York 2000; Public Art Fund, Metrotech Center, New York, 2000 and California Biennial, OCMA, Orange County, CA, 2004. Other recent group exhibitions include Temporary/Contemporary, Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL, A Chromatic Loss, curated by Jeffrey Uslip, Bortolami Gallery, New York, 2014; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2005, and Artist Space, New York, 2008. Michelle Lopez is a faculty member at the Yale School of Art in the department of Sculpture. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Guilford, CT.