The chief reaction elicited when encountering Christian Eckart’s recent works in person is wonderment. Hybrid forms for wall and for floor, which are both and neither painting and sculpture, evoke hyper-modern architecture and Hard-Edge abstraction, Color Field Minimalism and children’s playthings, hovercrafts and altarpieces, the wit of Light & Space and the reverential optics of cathedral glass. This is the strange and futuristic visual art one sees in sophisticated homes and lofty halls of government from the most utopian science fiction films. Yet despite its futuristic mediums and impactful experiential freshness, the work is extruded from a range of iterations of art history’s past. The exhibition’s title, “post-post,” refers to the jumble of styles, movements, technological advancements, and conceptual threads available for consideration in our current neo-post-everything visual zeitgeist. The pieces themselves are flawlessly conceived and executed in a way that communicates and enhances this heady armature, accomplished without neglecting the simple, accessible appeal of magic and delight.
The Absurd Vehicle (2006-11) is a freestanding, singular sculptural object-a central omphalos mounted on a circle of wheeled axles-resembling, perhaps, a massive mobile rock music speaker or a lunar landing hotrod. The painted surface of the interior is like gothic abalone, its shell machine-tooled metal. Like the dichroic glasswork, it’s aesthetically insistent, incredibly photogenic, and indelibly strange. But the show is stolen by the ostensibly quieter Limbus Paintings 3 and 4, (2016), made of matte acrylic urethane on aluminum and unique aluminum extrusion. These works initially present like basic monochrome color field paintings, albeit with striking elements of both metallic sheen and the shaped-canvas trend. More experiential, volatile, spatially-engaged, densely phenomenological, and joyful than any minimalism, these paintings change color along a spectrum of rose, violet, bronze, and peach according to the angle of raking light and relative motion/position of the viewer.
Dichroic Glass Field (2016), nearly wall-sized, at 96-by-144 inches, is a luminous and optically dynamic wall construction of refractive transparent colorized rectangles and crossed lines, equally reminiscent of Chris Burden’s Bridges made from custom-sourced, upscaled Erector Sets and Karl Benjamin’s semaphore puzzles. An upbeat tertiary palette offers a gentle, layered softness at exciting odds with the Cubist strictures of the visible metal scaffold. It’s an elegant showpiece, not only because of its peculiar material formulation, but because of the kaleidoscopic way its surfaces shift and change due to operations of ambient light, the viewer’s movements, and the illusions of depth generated within its own mirrored nooks and passages.
Limbus Painting 4, 2016 (gold)
Matte acrylic urethane on aluminium and unique aluminium extrusion
79″ x 49″ x 2″
Photo: courtesy Wilding Cran Gallery