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A friend and I were recently trying to remember the difference between an oval and an ellipse—something never committed to memory despite numerous Google searches and a descriptive geometry course I took in grad school. Gisela Colon’s curves at Diane Rosenstein are of the complex sort, belying the deliberateness of construction that separates an ellipse from an oval (I think). Her clean, tasteful, strange objects tease out the rare sensuality of the mind, in thrall to both mathematical accuracy and sheer technique.
The same friend once stressed to me that an art object should be unphotographable, which I took to mean having some ineffable tactile quality that even the cleverest photograph cannot manage to pin down. Colon’s objects—blow-molded, translucent acrylic often masking a mysterious, iridescent and hollow object inside—achieved this by wreaking havoc with the autofocus on my Samsung Galaxy 7 camera, leaving me wistful about the Nikon SLR I used to haul around everywhere. Each piece, most of which are wall-mounted, shimmers with some interior form; color shifts organically as you move around it, under the even tooth of the outer surface. Other than an odd stainless steel edge in Light Slab (all works 2017), every work hides its seams.
The effect of thick acrylic distorts a bit like aquarium glass; the objects within recall droplets of mercury or a speeding piece of metal caught, and stretched, in time—a quality underscored by titles like Hyper Ellipsoid (Gold Aqua). It’s an irony of many minimalist or Light and Space artworks that they aspire to timeless sensation while being very much indexed by the modern or even futuristic processes that gave rise to their formal specificity (and a double irony that many now appear hopelessly dated). The latter is perhaps also a source of anxiety, or dread—our oohing and aahing at the wonders wrought by globalist-capitalist industrial ingenuity. To its credit, the seamless materiality of Colon’s works within a gallery setting works against dread by underscoring instead the phenomenological space of contemplation, or simply the pleasure of looking at a beautiful object that you cannot quite figure out.
Gisela Colon: New Sculpture runs January 20–March 3, 2018 at Diane Rosenstein (831 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038).