Currently on view at Luhring Augustine’s Tribeca exhibition space, artist Oscar Tuazon has compiled a presentation of all new sculptural works, united under the title PEOPLE. Continuing Tuazon’s investigation of hybridized forms and construction through fusions of natural material and human technological developments, the show pushes fusions of minimalist abstraction and natural elements, making up a series of constantly changing morphologies and addressing notions of the natural systems of growth and decay.
Taking his interests in utility and communal space towards this new body of decidedly more aesthetic arrangements, the show pushes an interest in wood as living material, a constantly evolving material that changes from seed to tree to log and back to dirt after its use. The sculptures in PEOPLE arrest this process in critical but formless moments of the material’s ever-developing transformation. One work, Oil City, for instance, is comprised of four sculptures arranged in a circle, their burnt wood representing fire petrified and references the charred, salvaged remnants from burn piles, the byproduct of industrial clear-cut logging found near Tuazon’s home in Washington State, while simultaneously reflecting on the number of brutal wildfires hitting the West Coast each fall. Tree of Smoke, a cast iron column that directly mimics those found in the gallery’s architecture, is transformed into a post of smoke through the artist’s addition of a functioning stove at its base.
Tuazon mines a distinct sense of modernity here, a timely space between environmental turbulence and human presence that makes much of the modern landscape of his current home. Addressing and transforming the current problems posed by climate change and the political wrangling around its understanding in the modern discourse, the show presses a linguistic and social prompt that drives home its peculiar contradictions.
Also on view in the exhibition will be Natural Man, a functioning bronze and concrete fountain cast from a black oak trunk. The sculpture captures the tree at the moment the water flowing through it began to produce new growth. The work becomes an ecosystem embodied in one single sculpture, its own internalized world designed to nurture and sprout life on its own accord. Lyrical and encouraging of a nurturing role for modern art, the piece carries a striking prompt for the rest of the show.
PEOPLE closes April 17th.
– D. Creahan
Oscar Tuazon: PEOPLE [Exhibition Site]