Striking Artistry

‘Future Structures’ Bolstered By ‘Future Visions’ At Dvac

By Jud Yalkut

Andrew Au, "2VPR:EVR-DFM', Digtal Duratron in CCFL lightbox.

Andrew Au, "2VPR:ERV-DFM", digital Duration in CCFL lightbox

Pseudo-science and the body in motion are thematic elements playing against each other in the two-man show “Future Structures” running at the Dayton Visual Arts Center through Friday, October 15. Both artists in this exhibition operate at a high level of both technical mastery and innovative conception.

Andrew Au of Cincinnati, presently teaching at the Miami-Middletown campus, deals with almost science-fictional themes in his works being shown at DVAC, which are part of what he calls the “Binarians project.” This began, he says “as an extension of a previous series of work titled ‘Memebiotics’… treating memetic study as an invented pseudo-science” in which “cultural ideas were presented as if they were being examined through a microscope.”

The majority of Au’s pieces are rendered in hybrids of print media, combining etching or intaglio and silkscreen, or using gouache to enhance archival digital prints. “The Binarians began as an investigation of more specific memes,” writes Au, “ones that have binary functions of polarity within a culture… ‘either/or’ truth claims that divide individuals based on the adoption or rejection of the memes.”

These memetic images take the form of amalgams of insect and mechanical features as in the broad-winged object with internal struts and four prop engines mounted on an insectoid body in “U.747-IRp,” an etching and silkscreen on Hahnemuhle paper. All of Au’s constructs have symmetry to them as “they are displayed along their bilateral axes as a butterfly or beetle might be catalogued.”

The odd titling that Au employs, and his often schematic labeling like on a blueprint, derives from his concept of memes “which are currently expressed by both sides of the Intelligent Design versus Evolution debate which is primarily an American phenomenon.” The color etching combined with silkscreen “OO-CDp” plays off the similar shapes of insect and airplane tails, and the weight of gross engine heads with intricate indefinable structures, while the millipede body with two opposing mandibular head of “GLNrUD” has characteristics shared by both insectoid and electronic paraphernalia like sensors, resistors and antennae.

Other images like “C.EI+C.Br” with its detailed intaglio delineations or “13.73BYU” with its shield-like carapace and sprawling vertical pincher arms resemble entomological displays in a natural history museum. The most striking of Au’s images result when he avails himself of CCFL lightbox techniques as in the dimensional displays of digital Duratrans like “H.S.-ft KM:dt” with its robotic space shuttle head and long threatening black pincer arms, or “2VPR:ERV-DFM” with its multiple disc antennae display and its eight metallic grasping legs.

Au also elected to be juror of a concurrently-running members’ show called “Future Visions” and selected pieces “with a strong vision the viewer might embrace” and that was “perhaps less reliant on a personal narrative” and could “challenge the preconceptions of what we can collectively call our future.”

These chosen pieces include: the four free-standing signs of “In the Moment” saying “The/Future/Is/Here” by Shelley Bird; the stuffed bunny in a carriage observing a distant volcano in “Showdown at Sunset” by Laura Rhodes; the “Plan B” assemblage of a clock head with pasted lips by Shelley Bird; Joanne Yeck’s digital perspective of “Tunnel Vision”; the Kline-like sweeps of highway overpasses of “I-75” by A. Joe Barrish; Andrea Starkey’s aerial monotype of “Sprawl No. 3”; the floating transparent cubes in the sky of Andy Snow’s “Equivalents Avatar”; three collages by Daryl Woody; and the metaphorical J.G. Ballard-like desert spaceship graveyard of “Crash” by Mark Martel.

Rainer Lagemann of Miami, Florida is an accomplished sculptor who concentrates mainly on dimensional images of the human body in motion conceived “as a freeze frame of classic, timeless gestures and emotions.” Working mainly in forms of steel, some bronze or nickel plated and others in stainless steel or one-color polychrome, Lagemann constructs his bodies of hollow metal squares that impart structural transparency to the often difficult movements of his intrepid athletic figures.

Some of his male figures might evoke images of Spider-Man as one “Pablo Rock Climber, 0410 Pablo” ascends the gallery wall accompanied further on by a “Female Rock Climber, 0410 Jori.” Other cubistically strenuous action figures, all life-size or larger, are the “Sprinter, 0510 Genaro” and the V-bent “Swimmer, 0308 Richard.” More relaxed are the corner-mounted partial-back “0306 Ben,” the almost Grecian-style armless “Back,” and the graceful arched inner curve of “Bare Soul, 0610 Pablo” in stainless steel. A mysterious abstraction takes hold of Lagemann’s human forms as their patchwork structure of hollow squares both delineate and merge them with the environment’s wall.

The Dayton Visual Arts Center is located at
188 N. Jefferson St. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to
6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Call
(937) 224-3822 or visit www.DaytonVisualArts.org

Reach DCP visual arts critic Jud Yalkut at JudYalkut@daytoncitypaper.com

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