Taylor De Cordoba is pleased to present myopic spring tangle, a multi-media installation by Los Angeles-based artist Chris Natrop. The exhibition will open on Saturday April 10 and will remain on view through May 15, 2010. This is the artist’s solo debut at the gallery.
As opposed to Natrop’s previous and more immersive installations, myopic spring tangle is comprised of discrete works of art interrelating as a whole. While utilizing the existing gallery architecture, the artist employs myriad techniques and uses varied materials to transform the space into a unique environment. In one area, hand-cut pieces of paper painted with watercolor hang from the ceiling in a cluster. Illuminated by small fluorescent tube fixtures with colored gel overlays. This work is “tangled” with colored thread, which travels through the gallery rafters. There are also several framed cut paper pieces, which are the most detailed and precise the artist has completed to date, due in part to powerful reading glasses worn while working. The glasses kept him in a “myopic state,” which allowed him to obsessively subdivide forms to the point at which the physicality of the paper was pushed to it’s structural limit. The exhibit’s final facet is a series of mirrored wall panels, both hyper-detailed and resembling a kaleidoscopic ink blot test. Natrop incorporates other atmospheric details – mirrored Mylar sheet window coverings and a multi-faceted lighting scheme – which highlight the exhibit’s three main components, all connecting to form a free flowing narrative.
For this body of work, Natrop found inspiration in Los Angeles, and specifically it’s river. As it traverses the city, the river is funneled into a narrow concrete channel built for the sole purpose of controlling seasonal flooding. It is a space both forgotten and unseen, filled with elements both natural and manmade. For the artist, it is a place where the essential character of man’s relationship with nature is concentrated and distilled: “Swaths of urban detritus carried by the runoff become ensnared in the tangle of wildlife. Frayed shopping bags, tangled nylon string, shredded clothing, strips of printed-matter festoon the leaf-stripped branches, jetsam flapping in the breeze like Tibetan prayer flags.”
While deliberately ambiguous in it’s narrative, the work aims to reveal a sense of “natural meddling gone awry” while also engaging with the viewer on a psychological level. In the mirrored wall relief, the viewer is faced with their own reflection in a “Rorschach” pattern that their mind seeks to understand, decode and decipher. The use of lighting commonly found in clandestine indoor growing operations adds to the sense of a space that is both natural and artificial, beautiful and unsettling.
Chris Natrop has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, the Sonoma County Museum, the Armory Center for the Arts, the Skestos Gabriele Gallery in Chicago, Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts in Miami, Bank and Overtones in Los Angeles , the Walkers’ Point Center for the Arts in Milwaukee, among others. His work has been published in Art in America, Tema Celeste , the New Yorker and the Los Angeles Times among others.