Slots & Dots, sculptor Tim Thyzel’s third solo show with the gallery, uses the slotwall and pegboard commonly seen in low-end retail stores to create a series of sculptures which reflect on formal aspects of art and architecture as well as issues of merchandising and consumer appeal. Also known as MDF (medium density fiberboard), slotwall accommodates hardware such as hooks and shelving for interchangeable retail display. Several of the works shown include these hooks to add both texture and context to the work. The crisp white laminate, punctuated with lines and holes, transcends its usual application to construct a series of towers and stacks, which are both elegant and humorous. The show includes a replica of I.M. Pei’s Bank of China skyscraper, a group of boxes perched atop the tiptoed legs seen in stocking departments, and a cage of beach balls held inaccessible within a slatwall tower. Other towers bend and slump, or bristle with hooks. A group of pegboard boxes containing lights are installed in a dark room as a nocturnal urban landscape.
Tim Thyzel’s playful use of everyday materials reveals the overlooked aesthetic value of the stuff our world is built of, as well as the power of even the most common materials to define the environments they are used to construct. His previous series Tiled (2002) used ceramic tiles and bathroom fixtures to create gleaming cubes and columns, which evoked the perceived purity of private space while demonstrating the formal purity of the material, and it’s replication of the graph-paper sketch. Although Thyzel is first attracted to the aesthetic and constructive nature of low-brow building materials, he does not attempt to remove the meaning, instead adding sly humor to encourage social, environmental, and historical inquiry while celebrating an urge to build that is as innate as a child’s impulse to stack blocks.