Friday, January 23, 2009

Benedict Oddi @ Luke & Eloy

You know, I thought that I could get all of my thoughts about visiting Luke & Eloy into one post. I'm not even going to attempt it. It was a very rich experience. So, I think I'll start with Theater of the Mind, the exhibit currently in place at the gallery.


Puppeteer Dreams

The work is by artist Benedict Oddi. The works a really quite stunning. From the artists statement --
My theater-like arrangements of figures in landscape are placed in situations of anxiety and peril, intervened by trace elements of otherworldliness. During the course of these works I have examined human natures, social and institutional conventions. While my reflection was approached through escapism related to utopian and dystopian philosophy, I have tried not to align with one thought or the other, but choose to respond to both concerning the nature of free will.

Besides the really stunning paintings, Luke & Eloy's Brigitte Martin had the forethought to include drawings and constructs by Oddi in the exhibit. These supplemental works provide clear documentation of the Oddi's process in developing the works. Following is an arrangement of some of the constructs that the artist used in developing his paintings.


By itself, or even in combination as presented here, the constructs are only mildly interesting. It is only in the context of the paintings that these sketches begin to take on any significance.

While most of the panels are dark, Oddi's use of color is paramount. The panels glow with jewel-like colors, magnified by surfaces that appear to be wet. The works are small in scale, making them feel precious and even more jewel-like.


Not My Pony

There is a nice balance of formal aesthetics and contemporary images in the works, like the image above, Not My Pony. There is a touch of fantasy, a touch of computer games. Is anyone else a fan of flash games? I play them a lot, probably too much. If there is a pop reference in these works it is in these games, with their blend of reality and fantasy.



Obviously, Oddi is referencing the later-day Surrealists, like Magritte and Dali in his works. The interposing of toys and figurines with constucted landscapes and the use of hyper-realism techniques are drawn from these particular surrealists. He has managed to bing his own contemporary viewpoint to the work, though. I was told by Ms. Martin that the following work is one of the artist's earlier works. I am including it because I felt that this piece was particularly beautiful.


The Horde

The exhibit runs though February 21. It seems like a long time, but it is easy to put things off during cold weather. Keep this one at the top of your must-see list. You won't be disappointed. Next up - Luke & Eloy's fine wearable art.

Theater of the Mind
Benedict Oddi
January 17 - February 21, 2009
5169 Butler Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Opening Hours:
Tue - Fri 11-2
Sat 11-5

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thoughtful soul stirring observations,with a poetic sensitivity. This exhibition will be on my calendar.