A new series of sculptures by artist Michael Kalish have “˜bloomed”™ in the City of Roses, at Artworks Gallery in Pasadena. This exhibition is now showing until April 30th, 2010.
Kalish has opted to show his latest creations at his longtime collaborator Christopher Forney”™s Artworks Gallery in Pasadena. In the new series of twenty-five works, Kalish develops a theme that has been central to his work since he started working with cut metal license plates and the twisted remains of old automobiles, the tension between manufactured inorganic materials and the representation of natural forms.
This is even more apparent in the new series of sculptures on show at Artworks Gallery where the romantic and lyrical subjects of the rose and the bouquet of flowers are created from the rusting remains of old automobiles. The floral theme has been a constant stimulus to Michael Kalish”™s imagination since he first developed it in his early days with Artworks Gallery. A recent display of Japanese Geisha heads at Artworks revealed him cutting and bending metal to create the floral patterns on his subject”™s kimonos. In this new “Rose” series, which he identifies as a “Rust Renaissance,” he reveals his developing approach to sculpting metal as it finds a new and nuanced beauty in the rose and the flower bouquet.
Kalish finds life and beauty in the decaying and tortured forms of old auto parts, mangled fenders and scratched hoods are transformed into organic shapes with a new and imaginative existence. The alchemical transformation of the decay and destruction that forms the “˜history “˜ of his raw materials into a new poetic existence is at the heart of Kalish”™s new work where the tension of the “˜rose”™ and the “˜rust”™ is exquisitely balanced in a newly discovered lyricism.
The exhibition is engaging in its simplicity. The large roses are sturdy and three-dimensional, inviting a tactile response that defies the usual mind-set of most art exhibits (meaning, you may look and admire but not touch).
Amongst the variety of roses is a standout piece. Like me, the Mayor of Pasadena, Mr. Bill Bogaard, was very impressed by one of Kalish”™s unusual works on opening night. The work in particular was the only piece that was not a rose, rather a large portrait of a Japanese geisha intricately constructed from pieces of metal. Kalish depicts the geisha as if we are standing behind her, presenting a special focus on the most erotic area of a geisha, the luxuriously bare and powdered nape of the neck.
It”™s a magnificent piece; a delicate, female flower amongst metal roses.
59 w. Del Mar Blvd.,
Pasadena, CA 91105
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Review by Pauline Adamek