NAC in the LES

A.K. Burns @ Calicoon Gallery

Two steps beyond the gallery's door.

I’m standing amidst a collection of waist high quasi-modernist stone blocks and ink jet prints on linen that A.K. secured to the wall with pennies rammed halfway into the sheetrock. This may be the commanding gesture of the exhibition. It feels the most present; the most truly labor intensive. There is a busted up vase by the door that someone has attempted to repair, but that effort is more prolonged and less direct. It’s also the singular force that enables the emergence of natural forms; the rumpling linen’s folds and bends are exaggerated in the company of these rigid angular objects.

Three steps back from vase

It takes hooking of neck, craning, stooping, and up close sideways viewing to get a fair sense of the ink jet images, so obscured are they in the contorted cloth. I spy an archeological dig, a great hunk of rock, hands measuring something sculptured, someone pushing a carriage. I slide a finger along the seam of one of the sculptures and give it a slight rap with my knuckle. It’s hollow! These aren’t stone. I bet they’re made out of Formica, which would actually be more materialistically in tune with the ink jets and the vase than hewn rock would have been.

As I sit and stare through the center of one of the faux-stone sculptures the rising thoughts are all about negotiating the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces, of things being absorbed and emerging. The penny half sunk into the wall, the dominating vertical character of these rectilinear forms that seem to suggest upward movement, and of course the broken vase with its internal space open to the exterior environment. That boundary has certainly collapsed, though A.K. has attempted to reconstruct it. Archeology and childbirth both have to do with the passage of something precious across this metaphysical threshold as well.At an arm's distance

The open spaces in these sculptures seem vacated, less open than empty, or perhaps empty because an opening has been created. How similar is a womb post-delivery and a hole in the ground where an ancient pot has been removed? When A.K. digs those pennies out of the wall, they’re going to leave little gouges that will no doubt have to be filled.

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