THE SUN BELOW THE CEILING
THIS Los Angeles is pleased to present a solo exhibition of sculpture by Los Angeles-based artist Jon Rajkovich.
The show will run from July 20 through August 17, 2012, with an opening reception on Friday, July 20 from 7:00 to 10:00pm.
Rajkovich’s abstract sculptures explore material’s ability to conceal, reveal, and disguise. Each work suggests its own character through posture and surface appearance. Together they interact, with some works seeming exposed and sincere, and others dressed up and adorned. This collection represents a continued departure from the artist’s earlier, highly finished works of brightly colored cast plastic. Now Rajkovich leaves the process of making the works visible, and the audience to decipher whether or not color is inherent to the material. By objectifying the creative process and providing clues to its material and formation, Rajkovich offers the viewer a shared experience of assigning narrative to the work itself.
The pieces are fabricated from several materials including bendable plywood, steel, plastic, and found objects. The exhibition’s center work is a large, precariously balanced sculpture on wheels titled Heaven and Earth. Says Rajkovich, “This work is partially inspired by the writings of Robert Johnson. I built a jagged wall that morphed into cantilevered, curvy forms, in hopes of invoking a sort of downward growth. But instead the sculpture kept getting taller, and I kept having to haphazardly bolt it into the ceiling so it wouldn’t fall over. I moved it several times to different locations, reincarnating the problem, hanging it from higher ceilings while I tried to resolve the bottom. My original intentions were superseded by the need to solve the more practical problem of balance between the ceiling and ground.”
Rajkovich employs surprising shifts in surface, material, and physical posture in his work. His attention to material and craft draws upon the legacy of modern sculpture. Sometimes this arrangement reflects the otherworldly and imaginative; the vaudevillian semi-figurative sculpture Bacchus is sealed entirely with stripes, for example. At other times, his sculptures expose a crude elegance, where hints of unresolvedness are maintained and choices are revealed to reflect the complexities of the world as it is, resisting any singular conclusive outcome. The aim for these works is to balance the external circumstances with the personal and emotive, something the artist admits can be a bit dark and perplexing. Sometimes unaltered material or objects are added to balance things out: glass grapes, suitcase parts, and a wooden candle are all part of the mix.
Many of the materials in Rajkovich’s work have begun to echo human characteristics by impersonating other materials. Plastic looks like metal, wood looks like plastic. While this role play is a response to the artist’s dislike of informational placards in galleries and museums that give away all of the ingredients and date everything, it’s also a response to the fact that much of Los Angeles is built on artifice. “I like the way people portray someone else or their super–selves. Posture is important on the street and becomes so in the forms within my work.”
Jon Rajkovich grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He received his MFA from Winthrop University and attended Skowhegan. He has had an extensive exhibition history at venues such as the Axel Raben Gallery in New York, NY, the Susanne Hillberry Gallery in Fernadale, MI, Whitespace in Atlanta, and Shoshana Wayne in Santa Monica. Rajkovich’s work has been written about in Art in America, the Chicago Sun Times, Time Out, Art Papers, and the Los Angeles Times.