Culture Object

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Jeffrey Loura: Aggregates

February 16 - April 29, 2023

In Jeffrey’s second solo show at Culture Object, a significant shift has manifested; the artist’s first broad embrace of color is both surprising and rational. It is rational because of the artist’s strategy of systematic exploration of process and form. Surprise stems from precedent; previously only very limited and monochromatic application of color has been utilized and even that was only a recent development. For many years, Jeffrey’s work existed in an explicitly black and white universe.

Gone, in this new work, is the ability to interpret the entire form as an open vessel. In its place we have constructions made of discrete open and closed forms composed with a cubistic approach, from which the exhibition title derives. Gone as well, is the previously unviolated principle of classically totemic construction. Jeffrey has frustrated the viewer’s ability to take in the full form from a single perspective. In doing so the artist forcefully asserts the materiality of the work and implicitly engages the dimension of time, which is now required of the viewer in order to comprehend the form. It is as if the artist’s Brancusi period has given way to a Matisse inflected, Caro-like approach to color, pattern, and composition.

Unchanged is Jeffrey’s monk-like dedication to his meditative production process, his quest for discovery and understanding through the work. Evidence of this can still be seen upon careful observation of his intensely worked, burnished clay surfaces. Wrinkles and pock marks, subtle textural variations, striations and scumbles, all laboriously and intentionally introduced to the surfaces which have been exactingly burnished to evoke an aged object. Fundamental forms remain variations on spheres and their manipulated segments.

As seductive as it is to lose ourselves in formal aesthetic developments, they are second fiddle to the larger strategy. Jeffrey’s body of work forms a pattern of discovery and engages a systematic and symbolic evolutionary process. It began with the perfection and unity of the sphere, then the manipulation of the sphere, the introduction of the open and the closed, the immediacy of the totem gives way to the discovery of the multi-perspective form, raw surface to ornamented surface, traced by pattern and enveloped by color. These are all in service of the differentiation and identification of binary forces; it is the dance of yin and yang, in search of understanding. Jeffrey’s is not the fiery path of an ingĂ©nue, it is the thoughtful exploration of the creative process embodied in objects that mark its trajectory for posterity.

- Damon Crain