Editorial : Recommendations
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Randy Colosky
at Ampersand International Arts, San Francisco, California
Recommendation by Dewitt Cheng

Continuing through December, 2010

In \"Secret Handshake,\" his solo show of sculptures, drawings, and videos, Oakland conceptual artist Randy Colosky embraces the do-it-yourself aesthetic that seems to be everywhere these days - will art-supply stores survive? - and explores what happens when ordinary construction materials are derailed from their usual practical purposes. Through the manipulation of transmutation they become \"useless\" art imbued with \"humor, insight and beauty\" or \"vulnerabilities, tragedies and weathering.\" Curated by Tracy Wheeler, with an essay by Sarah Smith, the show\'s twenty-eight works offer a plentiful helping of ideas physicalized in a variety of materials. It\'s a smorgasbord, if we can steal that word for art recycling on Colosky\'s behalf from the late Robert Arneson.

A partial inventory follows: Six \"Nondeterministic Algorithm\" ink drawings on paper made by tracing the ellipses and rectangles from a Berol plastic template. The template is repeatedly moved slightly, creating dazzling floating geometries midway between Op Art and psychedelia. One wall-mounted spiral (\"Simpsons in the XYW Axis\") composed of the Simpson metal foundation straps that are familiar to seismically conscious Bay Area residents. Six \"Deepwater Horizon\" iron-on digital photos of the colossal Gulf of Mexico oil spill transferred onto blue paper towels. A Johnsian quartet that comprises a painted bronze \"paper\" cup spilling metallic coffee (\"What It Is\"). A wall-hung pipe wrench, \"Of Man and Machine,\" that has been rendered bronze-coated and inoperable. A trio of unreadable bronze history books (\"The History of History\"). A cinder block topped by two scoops of faux mashed-potato (\"Still Life: Cinder Block with Great Stuff Expansion Foam\"), the whole thing memorialized in eternal bronze. A pseudo-Minimalist bed of bricks (\"On the Shoulders of Giants\") that have been cut and excavated (60 squares per brick), resulting in a checkerbpard \"woven\" landscape. A trio of abstract paintings (Still meets Hofmann) made with Torrit Gray (i.e., the leftover-paint sludge that Gamblin sells every year to otherwise finicky painters). And a drawing made by shotgunning paper in delicate, lacy snowflakes.

Ampersand International Arts

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