Low Gallery, San Diego
Don Porcella: Shapeshifter
Article by Cathy Breslaw
|"Smoke 'em if you Got 'em" pipe cleaners, mixed media installation 104"x80"x66"|
On the surface, Don Porcella’s art conjures up playful memories of childhood, with his use of an array of brightly colored and shimmering textured pipe cleaners and drawing materials we all used in art class. He has incorporated these materials along with chicken wire for structure and transformed many of them into conceptual sculptural works, paintings and drawings that are his own 'take' on American culture – TV shows, products we use, consumerism, as well as his reflections on personal identity. We are struck by his whimsical humor as in Porcella’s mixed media drawings related to Star Trek, and a fantastical drawing of a strip mall. His works are reminiscent of folk art with a disarming simplicity, humility and straightforwardness, yet thoughtfully well crafted and sophisticated in their conceptual intent. Porcella’s pipe cleaner shoe works and packaged pipe cleaner ‘products’ poke fun at our consumer –oriented culture while sculptural works “Earth Monster”, “Blue Medusa”, and “Beast of Burden”(and others) are cloaked in fantasy as they speak to an underlying human condition. Alongside these works, is a second and unique set of works that are connected to Porcella’s experience living and working in a home previously inhabited by an artist named Harvey Matthews. Switching gears and using materials found in this space, these works appear to give homage to this unknown deceased artist and in reaction to him. Porcella has created an abstract installation with a selection of small black and yellow boxes, paintings of people on found wood, gas can, signage, nails, and other articles found in Matthew’s studio are included. It is as if Porcella created these works to document this artist’s life, giving identity, meaning and a personal connection. Porcella’s exhibition of 60 works is on view through July 16th at 1878 Main Street, San Diego.
|(From left to right) Star Trek Fan Club Klingon Language Institute Pocket Pool|
mixed media on paper each 8.5" x 11"
|Stoner, Assorted, Protesters, Road Crew, Sucker, Corney, |
pipe cleaners and hand-made packaging each 12" x 7" x 3"