Andy Coolquitt’s long history of making work that distorts the viewer’s relationship with domestic surroundings continues with these new sculptures about energy sources, bricolage and inspiration.
Light bulbs, lighters, bottles of booze and sculpted rude gestures cap the ends of poles made from broom handles, discarded metal pipes, drinking straws and other elements of humble origin. The mostly linear sculptures lean against the wall, hang from the ceiling or lazily arch through the exhibition space. The works play with ideas of balance, support and fragility. Several of the sculptures physically rest on the light bulbs themselves, or else a single, tiny point supports a mass that seems too tall, too heavy. An elegant sense of color and proportion contrasts with the rough patina of Coolquitt’s materials.
In many ways, the works in this exhibition concern energy and connection. Each end represents a metaphoric energy source while the linear elements connect, convey and distribute that energy, inviting comparisons to divining rods, wands, totems, talking sticks and performance props. The work compels a look past the corporeal material; to see in its place, poetic gestures. Disused and awkward throw-aways are given treatment, rehabilitated to “rightness,” or rather uprightness. iight puns on this. One could even consider these as moments of transient beauty, as literally lines (distance between two points) of poetry.
Coolquit’s work encourages careful, optimistic reading: his everyday minimalist aesthetic routinely puts questions of negativity to the viewer, all the while, achieving an arching beauty the clear, well-made idealism of a Brancusi, but with the here and now of an ever-changing city. Coolquitt is clearly inspired by the adaptability and resourcefulness of the bricoleur, the anonymous designer who ingeniously creates with available materials.
As light from the sculptures envelops those standing nearby, or smaller wand-like sculptures ask to be picked up, they suggest an intuitive, performative relationship with the body and the surrounding environment. Like other artists that employ similarly subtle political tactics, Coolquitt is interested in how art can permeate every moment, every object, no matter how humble, to yield a more inspired existence.
Andy Coolquitt lives and works in New York and Austin, Texas. He attended UCLA and the University of Texas in Austin, before taking a permanent leave of absence from higher education. Instead, he built a house from scratch, which was featured in the legendary and sadly defunct Nest magazine. He has exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad, most recently in a three person exhibition at Krinzinger Projecte in Vienna, Austria.