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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Infrastructure as Art: A look at Artist Randy Colosky's Process

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM

WAX PATTERN FOR BRONZE CASTS BY RANDY COLOSKY, PHOTO BY AIMEE FRIBERG
  • Wax pattern for bronze casts by Randy Colosky, photo by Aimee Friberg

The balance between function and concept is rarely straightforward in the work of Bay Area artist Randy Colosky. He'll take the process of bronze manufacturing, usually concealed as the "behind the scenes" element left invisible and unsung in the finished creation, and bring it to the forefront. The industrial elements of bronze lost wax casting take on new aesthetic and conceptual weight, with gates and sprues (the pre-made wax forms utilized as melt-away shape holders that create passageways in the mold for the molten metal to flow through) visibly repurposed into the shape of the sculpture itself. Colosky also plays with trompe l'oeil, making convincing cinder blocks, bulging foam stuffing, books, and more out of bronze (and admits to enjoying a chuckle when people actually mistake one of his sculptures for some misplaced object of the more banal sort he modeled it after).

Like this.
  • Like this.

The results are often witty and provocative, requiring double- and triple-takes to even get a literal idea of what they are (as in, first you try to pick up one of those books, realize it's as heavy as, well, bronze, and then laugh at yourself for not noticing the unlikeliness of a title like "The History of History: What Happened.") The robust, abstract forms he creates from the tools of bronze casting invite reconsideration of what constitutes the merely functional as opposed to the aesthetic.

Tools and the work in progress
  • Tools and the work in progress

New Jersey-born Colosky derives inspiration from both the industrial landscape of his youth and from myth. Of the series of differently colored, gnarled glass beams (also made from casting tools) faintly embedded with letters, Colosky says, "The glass pieces in particular reference the "Tower of Babel," in which God's children (united from many different tribes and speaking the same language) have perfected their capacity to do great things. God then decides that his children should have obstacles to overcome and confounds their language so they can not finish building the tower." We visited the Sebastopol foundry to observe the bronze casting of several pieces in Colosky's new show, which debuts at K Imperial Fine Art on Thursday, August 2.

Randy Colosky inspects molds ready for the kiln.
  • Randy Colosky inspects molds ready for the kiln.
De-kilned molds await bronze casting.
  • De-kilned molds await bronze casting.
The pouring of the bronze. Some workers wear leather aprons, but the awesome silver coat is made of teflon.
  • The pouring of the bronze. Some workers wear leather aprons, but the awesome silver coat is made of teflon.
After the bronze has cooled and hardened, they go to town on the cast itself. Gleeful wreckage ensues.
  • After the bronze has cooled and hardened, they go to town on the cast itself. Gleeful wreckage ensues.

Want to see the finished pieces? Randy Colosky's "Infrastructure," will be displayed at K Imperial Fine Art, 49 Geary, fourth floor, August 2 - September 29. And don't miss the photography of Brian Duffy, Gary Winogrand, and Mona Kuhn on the same floor.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.
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Larissa Archer

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