Bob Seng, Robert Franca & Vince Gargiulo at Valentine

07/26/2012 3:37 PM |

Branca, Gargiulo & Seng at Valentine Gallery
  • Left to right, a glimpse of works by Branca, Gargiulo and Seng.

Entries, evasions and variant egresses make up the thematic mix in the current exhibition at Valentine Gallery.

Full review below.

The underlying theme cohering the works in the current exhibition at Valentine Gallery is so subtle, so quiet as to quite nearly not be there at all. Indeed, by and large, it is not; or rather, it is not readily offered. Per artist-curator Fred Valentine’s custom, the title granted this show provides only the most essential particulars—namely, the artists’ names, Bob Seng, Robert Franca and Vince Gargiulo. The press release itself is but a snippet longer to include an address and the date of the opening. Yet the show’s theme, however hushed—or however somewhat visitor-concocted—is both a delight to discover and a prompt to explore more. Let not the notion of exploration rest here as mere metaphor, however: the theme binding the works and deepening the intrigue of their placement is that of now movement, now bulwarks thereto, all likely to leave you both idling, lost in lovely confusion, and moving, with navigational caution, on through. You might also stand around a bit uncomfortably.

Bob Seng’s movement-pointing source material is quotidian and familiar enough—its colors, its proportions—to remain immediately recognizable despite its thorough alterations. Both heralds and indicators of egress, exit signs are Seng’s points of creative departure, yet the meticulous manner in which he splices into and reconfigures them as variably suggestive forms discourages your gaze, and thus you, from leaving. Robert Franca, meanwhile, employs a differently suggestive source material, police barriers, those sawhorse-like blue and white structures that one might consider movement-prohibitive. Crafting his barriers from scratch, Franca variably alters their scale before shaping them into sculptures of mixedly complex geometries. Particularly amusing are those made from barriers two-thirds their proper size, as they evoke visions of smallish streets, smallish officers, smallish crimes. Vince Gargiulo, then, grounding the exhibit and reining it in, refashions vintage shoes—movement-enabling objects, if you will—into curiously, almost diabolically contorted forms, some of which might leave you pigeon-toed as you mentally slip them on. The ouroboric ones will be particularly wince-inducing.

A possible exhibit title might have related to entry, for instance, or escape, or some sort of negation of one or the other. Had that been the case, however, the exhibit might not have furnished such a welcome helping of both.

Gargiulo at Valentine Gallery.
  • Gargiulo’s sculptures take a load off their feet (and yours?) in the side room. Or maybe not (or knot?).

Valentine Gallery is located in Ridgewood at 464 Seneca Avenue, near the Dekalb L stop. Bob Seng, Richard Branca & Vince Gargiulo will be on view through August 5th.

You can follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio