Sculptors, particularly those who work in various metals, must anticipate every bend, crease, cut and weld. That the raw material at times informs the shape of the finished piece rather than yielding to the will of the artist’s hand isn’t lost on Elliot Norquist or Jeremy Thomas; two artists who have spent the majority of their careers in conversation with the feral material into seemingly effortless forms.
“Dialogues in Steel,” is the first collaborative show between Norquist and Thomas. An opening Reception with the artists is scheduled Friday, April 27, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Charlotte Jackson Fine Art. The gallery is located at 554 Guadalupe St., Santa Fe NM. The show will extend through May 27, 2012.
Thomas is a former student of Norquist’s. Each has been privy to one another’s progress as artists and have reached distinctive conclusions with their respective work. In this, “Dialogues in Steel,” is a moment is the lives of these two artists reconnecting in their ongoing conversation about pushing metal into broader landscapes. “Dialogues in Steel,” pairs two primary architects in the world of contemporary sculpture.
Norquist creates works of high sophistication and abstraction; it is a kind of contemplative minimalism. Norquist’s work dances between a series of contraries: the circle in the square, the simple in the complex, the personal in the abstract, the natural in what is man-made. Shape and color are all important. A square with a circle cut from the center, a circle with a square cut. Norquist uses the sparest of visual vocabularies. Color and shape must retain their integrity and yet merge to become art. Norquist describes this precarious walk through contraries in an elegant way.
Thomas welds forms together that he can then heat and inject with pressurized air, inflating, or “growing” them into their final shape. The final pieces contain paradox: metal molded by air, sensual forms in forceful fetish-finish primary colors gleaned from tractor manufactures. These sculptures are changeable (as one continuously finds new approaches in their creases, angles, and wrinkles); they allow a dialogue between viewer and work much in the way Thomas says he engages in an ongoing dialogue, a give and take, with his materials. As he says, “Art is the science of play,” a creed that Thomas seems to take to heart, both in his work and in his life.