Material World.

Guerra de la Paz Collaborative shows Oasis at Chicago Cultural Center. From June 10th through AugustSometimes your forced to walk in and say WOW. My, oh my, just what is this here? Then of course you start rationalizing – you think, I could have done that, how simple this is, how rudimentary even… It is, however, quite another thing to actually do it, to accomplish from start to finish something so grand, something just so… WOW. Artists Guerra de la Paz manages each and every time to stun you. To grab your eye and swirl it around in texture and color. To push your senses to it’s capacity. To intrude into your imagination and occasionally linger on into your dreams. Oasis, their most recent installation at the Chicago Cultural Center, stands just shy of twenty feet in any direction, this behemoth mass is nothing short of a hallucinogenic paradise. Random discarded clothing floats, flutters, twists and turns, forming into branches, flowers, rocks, and riverbeds. Nudes, in pairs of the biblical twos slink and wander through as birds sing to an artificial neon sky. The artists draw on comparisons of sustainability, mass consumption, and nature as the barometer of beauty. A theory long shared by those whom live and till the land (or in this case the thrift shop) everything that comes from the earth must return there, a very fundamental theory to one that works with found, second hand and donated objects. With the fever of recent talks of global warming and environmental change, extreme weather patterns and so on, I find it a bit humorous that here I am tramping through what would be considered as quite a decent sized “park” for any major city now a days. However, treading lightly over the surface, as one perhaps should do more often over the earth, gives the viewer an understanding of the handy work that goes into a sculpture of this kind. As you steady your gaze it becomes clear that those ripples in the water are the lacey frills of a women’s blouse, or the jolly blades of grass are actually hundreds of sleeves from children’s green shirts. The stones, men’s bulkier winter sweaters pinned and tucked into shape, and the flowers… ah the darling flowers, my personal favorite, are nothing more than the very socks you wear upon your feet. (Fortunately they’ve been laundered.) As in many of their installation and soft sculptural work, there is a line they tow where elements experiment and surprise are married under an enigma. Like Fauvist, postimpressionist, and even impressionist to an extent, Guerra de la Paz’s work is a reflection based on the glasses they alone wear, the tones, colors and materials are particular to that time and place. Each unique onto itself, each existing only there in just that way, to each viewer a completely unique experience. Oasis feels raw, it glows intensely, its size makes it unruly, and its medium, being that of neglect, disdain, and rejection, makes it all the more a comrade than a dictator in this sometimes circumscribed trek through the contemporary art world. By: Lynn del Sol. independent curator NYC June 2006 Click here to read Chicago SUN Times Review Click here to read Q&A with the artists

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