I was recently driving in a thriving, mostly immigrant, neighborhood of Los Angeles. While stopped at a light I saw the following sign: Tax Preparation /Travel Agency. It was not unified corporate branding by a long shot. It was, however, two businesses which the investment in a single computer might make possible. Categorically it was a funny space. No one likes taxes and everyone wants to go on vacation. A perfect case of opposites attract. It reminded me of the parings of surprising, unlikely elements that are the motors of Nicholas Coroneos' work. I see the sculpture in this show as a compendium of our ad-hoc beliefs and values. There are equal parts playful, pop whimsey and an archaic three dimensional hieroglyph that is all about consequences. The work evokes a Pre-Twenty First Century world of material culture. This bronze sculpture, however, is not about nostalgia. It is about those ideas of the past which, through their momentum, carry through to our own era. To loosely quote William Faulkner," a past which is not over, a past which is not even past."
These sculptures are bold, humorous and finely crafted attempts to reify a set of" things one might believe in." A kind of idiosyncratic transect of the heinz 57 of values and beliefs awash as flotsam and jetsam in the contemporary world. There are a variety of flickering stories in these works. There is also a quality of the abandoned. As if to suggest an indeterminant level of belief in the husks of stories that the sculptures evoke. If this feeling might be expressed in a line of dialog- it might read ," I am not sure how much I believe this any more, but its still on my mind." There is a classic scene in the American Western where there is a return to an abandoned house. Undisclosed things haunt these spaces. The door creaks open , footfalls on rotted planks and a horizon of years of dusty abandonment slashes back into shadowed, filmic space. By the time the credits roll it never was a good idea to have gone there. Perhaps this signifies the ongoing tendency in our culture to return to older,outmoded, ways of doing things in the face of a troubling present. In some way the sculptures of Coroneos evoke this kind of ambivalence while, also suggesting ways forward. There is a thread of addiction, and its language and metaphors that run through Coroneos' sculpture. Though the addiction recovery business grosses many billions of dollars in the United State and it is a part of the media lore and life experiences of many, few artists have routinely touched on this subject. This sculptor takes the linguistic cliches of addiction and playfully performs an act of reification on it. He has created jarring and off kilter works. Some of his titles "The Wagon, " Lift My Spirits," and "Last Call," bring to mind and put a new wary spin on the language casually associated with the culture of the leisure, addictive ,industrial complex. The other thread is religion and the cathedral as an architecture of aspiration. In discussions Coroneos has said that ,"The Catholic Church is perhaps the best recognized brand in the world." It is almost synonymous with aspirations of the highest order and of some central values of western culture over Millennia. This "brand," is used by the sculptor as a colliding force with the low downward earthly force of addiction. He explores paired, charged low and high elements and brings them into a kind of stabilized art containment field. In this state a viewer may examine and question prevailing beliefs and, perhaps ,come to some new conclusions. A healthy inoculation of doubt towards simple explanations or beliefs is perhaps the highest gift Coroneos' work offers the viewer.
*The author object de'scribe aka- Jim Mcaninch is a sculptor and member of the "Critocracy Crit Group" with Mr. Coroneos. McAninch Studied with David and Eleanor Antin and was teaching assistant for Allan Kaprow in Art History while obtaining his MFA in sculpture from UC San Diego in the late 80's