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Art Review: Assembling Assemblage

Buenaventura Art Association
Art Review
Assembling Assemblage
Buenaventura Arts Association 3D Open Competition
The Buena Ventura Art Association [BAA] is exhibiting its annual 3D Open Competition show through 20 May 2017. This annual exhibition and competition, while it does not draw many of the top sculptors and 3Dartists living and working in the 805, it does draw enough talent to remain one of the more interesting, if not the best, 3D group show in the 805.
This year’s competition shows an overwhelming percentage of assemblage art as opposed to other sculptural forms, in particular truly in-the-round sculpture, which is otherwise well represented within the artists community of the 805. As such that means this show is not that representative of 3Dpractice in the 805 in terms of medium and approach as well. This may be due to the judging/curation.

Be that as it may, we do not agree that much with the judging and awarding of the awards in this show. Bob Privett’s two pieces, Time Lock, and Halfa Whilred Away--Half Faced, offer technical execution at least one or two notches above anything else in the show, as well as, more importantly, reveal a sense of meaning clearly more sophisticated than anything else in the show. Both pieces demonstrate Privett’s multi-layered word play and use of visual trope to get at clever renderings of meaning and social comment. One may have to work a bit more to get at that meaning; but that is part of the import and tradition of assemblage: it is there to make you think.

Another piece that was not given an award, gets our third-place mention Janet Black’s Silence, a subtle piece made mostly of paper. Constructing a three-dimensional assemblage out of a relatively delicate two-dimensional medium such as paper is no small feat. Black’s piece reveals a subtlety and finesse on other levels as well, providing an intriguing meditation on the concept of silence.

Our “honorable mentions” go to Carlos Grasso’s rather large, mostly paper, assemblage, Look Into Yourself, and Partica Post’s two pieces, Time Traveler 1 and Time Traveler 2, one of which does get an award from the judge. Post’s works seems to me a dyptich of sorts and I get the sense that they would be stronger displayed together, rather than apart as they are in the show, for they profit by a close comparison that reveals a certain nuance in their execution that deepens their meaning. Eco Shumaker also contributes two relatively large assemblages, which also appear to be related in some way.

The works that get the actual awards in the show are fine as far as they go, but seem to depend more on gimmicky, even shallow, execution rather than the kind of thoughtful rendering of meaning that one comes to expect from assemblage and is clearly shown in the works mentioned above.
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