Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Queering Queer Abstraction

Queering Queer Abstraction

Ken Gonzales-Day, The Wonder Gaze (St. James Park), 2006. Digital exhibition print on vinyl, dimensions variable. Courtesy Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles, © Ken Gonzales-Day.
 On its surface, Redress (2015) by Lucas Michael refers to nothing specific. The sculpture consists of three neon bands shaped into an open rectangle with the lower line missing; the bands all emit a searing light red hue. Redress is meant to stand against a gallery wall where its luminescence grasps for the neutral tones of the white cube. Like its most immediate predecessor, the neon work of Dan Flavin, Redress seems to function as a formal exercise—a play between supporting architecture and imposed form, between saturated and neutral chromatic tones. But for those who viewed Michael’s piece at the exhibition FOUND: Queer Archaeology; Queer Abstraction, curated by Avram Finkelstein (of Gran Fury fame) at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art this past summer, its wall label illuminated a more immediate reference. The artist constructed Redressto follow the dimensions of a door at Commonwealth & Council, a gallery in Los Angeles. Moreover, the red light of the work recalls the red light of clubs, bars, and other nighttime dens. Redress creates a continuum of associations between geometric form and social life.