Casey Clark + Anthony Arevalo + Nate Clark
Every One Different, Every One The Same I never make one of anything, most potters would say the same. There is a rhythm to producing any form and finding it takes a little time, a little repetition. There are changes and variations along the way, natural responses to the material, playing. The most rewarding moments happen as a result of that process; the neck of a bottle, or the arc of a handle, just right. The first time I watched Nate paint he was covering a big canvas with hundreds of small black tick marks. He would adjust the way he loaded the brush, or the pressure of his hand, and watch as the marks changed. I’ve seen Anthony do it too, lately it’s been with power tools on plywood. They both use such familiar movements, and it was easy to see pots dressed in those canvases and panels. As bike mechanics, the three of us practiced another kind of craft. Mechanics don’t play with machines, we fix them, and machines don’t like variation. But after doing both things for this long it’s hard not to look for the similarities. I can’t say exactly what they are, but I am sure they’re in the details somewhere; in the tools, in the hands, in getting it just right.
Casey Clark 01
What we call Poetry is the boat :Robert Duncan
A BELL IS A CUP UNTIL IT IS STRUCK Jared Stanley
Each piece in this show is interested in holes, negative spaces, in boring into and carrying. Anthony Arevalo, Casey Clark, and Nate Clark work in different mediums, but their work shares a common interest in patterning and containment – what they contain, well, that’s the art, now isn’t it? Each of these artists are also bike mechanics – It’s not the kind of job somebody just picks up. Working on bicycles is, on the surface, a simple task – it’s easy enough to change your tires. But to get a bike to operate perfectly requires a degree of focus and concentration that is both impressive and slightly scary – I mean, if somebody’s brakes fail, it’s on the mechanic. These artists each present a different vision of how attention to detail comes into being in the final work, but each piece in this show shares an obsessive attention to detail, a sense that “process” and “product” are closely aligned. The work becomes a record of its making, but also thing in itself. Anthony Arevalo’s work is an investigation of recovery and repetition, with power tools. His wall pieces are made of recycled wood, often scrap from construction sites, cabinet doors which have been painted and repainted both before Arevalo finds them, and after he’s begun his work. Arevalo makes complex patterns in these boards by drilling holes with a forstner bit into this
going away was a wrench
re-used wood, exposing layers of paint but also creating patterns of alternating, dense and sparse clusters of circles. The effect is strange – on the one hand, one gets the sense of deep concentration and reflection that this painstaking process demands – the careful production of effects that reveal themselves differently depending on the viewer’s proximity to the piece. On the other hand, there is an intensity to this work, a quietly unsettling hollowing out of the past. These seem to me a kind of excavation – whatever buried treasure they may be looking for, we’re left to marvel at the attempt. Casey Clark’s work takes this interest in patterning to his vases. The work in this show features his own work as well as collaborations with Nate and Anthony. There is a strong sense of craftsmanship and an obsession with the possible forms of containers – the materials he uses to make these patterns – bike pedals, old drive gears, pencil sharpener parts, various other bits of flotsam and jetsam, porcelain slips, and carved plywood – give the containers a presence of their own, beyond their function, a sense well articulated by Micheal Cardew’s statement: “A pot is always a container even if it is never actually used as a container.” It’s a strange predicament for an art object, which for much of the last century has been presumed to be an object with no use, ‘pure’ in its lack of utility. But putting aside arguments about authenticity, the fact that these objects, in their fundamental form, are supposed to ‘do something’ to contain something, even if that thing isn’t here in front of us, gives them a fundamental doubleness – they are both beautiful in themselves, but are also generous in their function. I’m reminded of Wallace Stevens poem “Anecdote of the Jar” which imagines the way the simple act of placing a jar, a human made thing, in landscape, completely changes the place it inhabits:
It took dominion everywhere. The jar was gray and bare. It did not give of bird or bush, Like nothing else in Tennessee. Nate Clark’s paintings (in this show, at least) seem to be carriers for colors – these deceptively simple paintings feature a “dot” of spray paint, subtly undergirded by a curved swatch of gesso. When I asked Nate whether these painting operated according to some randomly generated principle – the rigidity, and simple interworkings of grid and circle seem to imply a kind of categorical experiment in color theory – he told me that he essentially started by applying one dot, and the color of each other spray was determined by the color of the initial dot – not systematically, but by the eye. What I like about this idea is that Clark uses a formal rigidity to simply explore colors and their stark interrelation. But it’s more than that – if Clark had just put these dots there, you might dismiss this work as eye candy (though I am as much a sucker for eye candy as the next person) – but these sprays are deepened by the careful gestural sweep of gesso underneath the spray – That’s what really attracts me to this work. These little white vessels seem to hold the color – they are themselves somewhat anonymous, hard to see, but the colors, these paintings (and optics) suggest, aren’t possible without the ever-present, hard-to-see blankness. If these paintings were an argument, they might be saying, “look, none of this bright world would be possible without the unseen – these little curves are boats, carrying colors, are white shadows - can’t you see?”
going away was a wrench
going away was a wrench
GOING AWAY WAS A WRENCH Dec. 16, 2013 - jan. 10, 2014 @ the holland project gallery 140 vesta st. Reno NV | www. hollandreno.org
SARAH LILLEGARD, JARED STANLEY, TIM CONDER, CHAD STRAND, JOE WINTER, PAUL HERMAN & JOHN STIEGER.
PHOTOGRAPHY: nate clark DESIGN + LAYOUT: Sarah Lillegard DIGITAL EDITION