Review: Irazu layers form in Isolation
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 14, 2011 - The work on view at Isolation Room, Spanish artist Pello Irazu, is an absolute modernist gem.
"Belgrado XIII" layers tape and paint onto a photograph of sculptural arrangements in Irazu's studio. The photo looks down upon boxlike structures stacked on a chair. Over the surface of this tight, dizzying view, Irazu has added sculptural approximations in two dimensions: painted woodgrain that mimics cut lumber, and red tape highlights with faux shadows that look like painted plywood.
The whole construction teeters on the brink of collapse, as it wends its way from sculptural original, to photographic intermediary, to painted fiction. It also evokes Pablo Picasso's brilliant collages in its tricky plays on reality and representation (it even makes a Picasso-esque nod to its own woodgrain frame).
Irazu is well known in Spain, mainly for his sculpture; Dana Turkovic, co-curator at Isolation Room, was lucky enough to score this engaging visual jest to introduce the artist to St. Louis audiences.
Ivy Cooper, a professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is the Beacon art critic.