Friday, November 12, 2010

Sugar and Edgar Arceneaux

Sugar and spice and everything, what?  History? What's this show about? According to the press release the exhibition continues an investigation into culture in which the city of Detroit functions as an important anchor. Evidently Detroit was the site of the largest race riots in American history and now it's the city of spectacular urban decline. There are a series of graphite images on huge hanging sheets in the gallery space. Images of past histories throughout time and the excavation and realization of just how these civilizations declined. According to the press release, Edgar created a series of sugar sculptures to complement the exhibition - boxes, books and other objects dipped in a highly concentrated sugar solution until shimmering sugar crystals calcify their surfaces. The arrangement of this "Human Sugar Factory" traces the main thoroughfares of the city of Detroit. Rich in cultural and aesthetic connotations, the sugar crystals fossilize time and history into concrete form. They continue Arceneaux's attempt to visually crystallize time and to conflate fluidity with physical mass – a quest he has been exploring over an extended period of time in his "Intersection" drawings.

I enjoyed the show more than I thought.  It felt as if I were on a excavation, searching about each space as they revealed a new story about a time and a place that was once great but now in decline. Each color and representation is full of references to so many things its mind boggling. 
Edgars' show is currently at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects until December 11.

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