Sebastian Vargas and Michael Zelehoski studied under the late Chilean sculptor Felix Maruenda and collaborated extensively during Zelehoski’s time in South America, ultimately helping to finish Maruenda’s Monumento al Trabajador Voluntario, which Maruenda died before completing. At the time, the two worked three dimensionally and were both heavily influenced by their mentor. Five years later, having worked independently, on separate continents, both have sought to incorporate the formal, spatial and phenomenological concerns of sculpture into two-dimensional works of art. However, their respective approaches could not be more varied nor the end results more distinct.
Sebastian Vargas explores volume, perspective and spatial dimension in the context of brightly colored, stylized landscapes. These landscapes are dominated by dynamic forms that bend and arch like architectonic bubble gum. Reminiscent of Chillida and Le Corbusier, Vargas’ forms sprawl fiercely across the picture plane unencumbered by the material constraints of the actual, physical world. In this sense, Michael Zelehoski takes a near opposite approach. Instead of creating a representation, Zelehoski appropriates actual objects and structures, collapsing them into two-dimensional planes in an effort to blur the distinction between art and the quotidian objects that surround us in our daily lives. In this way, Zelehoski explores the duality between three-dimensional reality and two-dimensional pictorial space and seeks to push the continuum of representational art to a logical extreme.
If reconciling two and three-dimensionality is a daunting task, so has been the reconciliation of the two artist’s diverse approaches to the problem. The differences in Vargas and Zelehoski’s works are striking, more so when one considers their common background and shared formal concerns. The contrasts in their work testify to the broad and subjective nature of questions of representation and reality and suggest that these explorations are as relevant today as they were at the height of modernism.
Local Projects is located at 45-10 Davis Street in Long Island City. For additional information or visuals, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org.