Vince Skelly: New Works and Mariel Capanna: Overlook at Adams and Ollman

Vince Skelly, New Works, installation view. Courtesy of Adams and Ollman.

Vince Skelly:  New Works and Mariel Capanna: Overlook

Adams and Ollman

February 12 through March 13, 2021

By DARYL KING, March 2021

The most recent exhibition at Adams and Ollman Gallery was worth seeing. Both Vince Skelly and artist Mariel Capanna create artwork that reflects much of what is going on in our lives today. A few minutes in the gallery would demonstrate that global warming is here. If you don't believe it, conduct a Google search of the recent events in Texas. Yet, despite all of the apparent madness, both Skelly and Capanna were able to declutter. Skelly specifically “prefers the limitations of carving reductively. That being said, the hardest part is knowing when to stop. Carving is like a game of chess because you have to plan your moves since there's no going back. Coming across a large crack or void in the wood can be surprising, forcing him to integrate the natural imperfection into the design. He enjoys those types of moments when a sudden shift in design takes place.” Many people have started to realize their inner creative side and taken on new projects. The public is now joining the domain of home offices, where artists have been working for centuries.  

Symbolism starts to play a more significant role globally, as people are urged to be more sincere and connected with themselves. Both artists demonstrate how it is still possible to see everything with a new light. Capanna “developed some painting habits with regard to color-mixing, mark-making, and compositional arrangement. She also developed some looking habits: when watching all the disparate films, her eye tends to be drawn toward saturated color, toward lighter values, toward small shapes, toward shapes that hug the frame's edges. She keeps returning to parade footage in part because it’s filled with all the stuff that suits this sensibility: bright colors, confetti bits, bicycle handles, umbrellas, the long shiny golden loops of trombones cut off by an edge of the frame. The artist also returns to parade footage because it offers her the two kinds of composition that she tends to be looking for: there’s the everything-everywhere, loud, busy, colorful composition of a parade in motion; and then there’s the sparse, quiet, empty composition of the day after a parade, when all the streamers and confetti have settled on the pavement, scattered, damp and trampled."  

Mariel Capanna, Overlook, installation view. Courtesy of Adams and Ollman.

Now we find ourselves walking into 2021 with a sense of prospect. People could find new ways of living between the previous momentum of 24-hour living and Winter 2021. As others find a way to reinvent themselves, Skelly was able to find a new means of subsistence: "2020 was a productive year in the studio. The lockdown gave me more time to experiment with things like painting and ceramic maquettes. I did as much work as I possibly could until the deadline for the show came. It felt like every new carving was larger than the last. I plan to continue carving from a single block of wood and go as big as I can until I need to start stacking pieces of wood together to create sculptures at an architectural scale. However, that would shift my process from working reductive to additive and open up endless possibilities." What more can we learn from the exhibition? People must support themselves as they figure out how to make it during Quarantine - constructively. Exploring how this manifests itself in Contemporary Art, art enthusiasts question the authenticity, reliability, and how the industry is going to survive.  

Our perspective also changes in these moments when we further lose the ability to maintain the standard of living. The gallery is located in Portland. There was a clash between local police authorities and people trying to reclaim groceries that a supermarket threw away due to food and health regulations. Ten years ago, many would have gawked at the idea of supporting dumpster diving, or Freeganism as it is formally known. However, the people have survived through the pandemic utilizing the same form of mutual aid, communal support, and free groceries. Mariel has a unique method of watching videos once to inspire her work: "… there are a few that I let myself return to over and over again. For the body of work in Overlook, Les Blank's 1978 documentary Always For Pleasure features lots of second-line parade footage from New Orleans. Also, Kirsten Johnson's 2016 film cameraperson—an autobiographical collage made with footage she shot working as a cinematographer for a dozen disparate documentaries throughout her decades-long career." It translates into a new discourse around the “struggle” associated with being a Millennial. WM


Daryl King

Daryl King is an architecturally influenced artist, based in Brooklyn, New York. His passion for art and architecture is only matched by an equal interest in food. He is the founder and director of 国王roi, kokuo roi, an ever expanding firm that consumes everything around it and regurgitates it out in the form of something spectacular. With plans for future discussions, events, exhibitions, and some non-profit work, Daryl is inspired to make his immediate environment quintessential in some way; however, he is greatly distracted by listening to music, playing PS3, and streaming media online.

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