By Evan Senn
If you’ve ever been to Pomona’s Art Colony, then you probably already know they love art in downtown Pomona. Well now there is even more cause to visit the Pomona Art Colony area—the Packing Plant. The same energy that helped Pomona Valley grow into its own over the years, thanks to the Packing Plant, must have stayed around the building. This energy is now imbued into the busy and creative live/work art spaces here at this repurposed plant.
For its grand opening, the Pomona Packing Plant teamed up with local artists and curators to exhibit artworks in conjunction with a local art symposium.
“ReMODEL 2” sculpture symposium as part of its Bradshaw Conference Series on Sat., Oct.19 at the Garrison Theatre at Claremont Graduate University. What’s a sculpture symposium, you ask? “ReMODEL 2” is an event where art professionals and enthusiasts alike can gather and revel in the majesty of sculpture, both historically and contemporarily.
“YOU ARE HERE: Installations & Space Expanse” is an exhibition that is in conjunction with the “ReMODEL 2” symposium and is an evocative, speechless conversation on the relationship between installation and sculpture. The exhibition was curated by one of UCR ARTSblock’s curators Jennifer Frias, and Jacqueline Bell Johnson. Artists involved include Jacqueline Bell Johnson, Jeremiah Thomas Catling, Patrick Faulk, S.A. Hawkins, Matthew Hillseth, Patrick Quan, Chelsea Rector and Conchi Sanford.
Patrick Faulk redefines our understanding of sculpture in relation to sound and weight with his gigantic sculpture/installation What Truth Holds. As you walk through the space, and around this giant sculptural installation, the structure looks like something similar to a soundwave from the side. Faulk is known for his deconstructive-manipulative artworks, all of which are mindblowingly fun and inventive. But, this piece touches on more than sound. Dozens of tiny plaster bridges stack on top of one another in a very peculiar shape. He uses a mixture of plaster, salt and dictionary pages to reference his “truth.” A dehumidifier is placed above the precariously stacked objects; it extracts moisture from the air in the space and drips water on to the structure. The repetition of the drip seems as a metaphor for time—specifically the test of time, to which each bridge will supposedly fall, at differing rates. The expected fall of each of the bridges will inevitably be musical, and the anticipation seems almost as palpable as the heavy bridges themselves.
Looking up in the expansive “YOU ARE HERE” exhibition space, bright pink creatures slowly crawl all around the rafters of this old packing plant. They are creepy and curious, probing the ceiling as they climb across the wooden beams. Pouring in from any open air duct or vent, many different sizes of these shiny and soft-looking pink worm-shaped monsters invade the space. The installation by artist S.A. Hawkins entitled Contagion is subtle yet anxiety-ridden. The worms evoke a feeling of panic in viewers, as they are everywhere. The power of installation is the true culprit in this work. A strange and unavoidable power struggle, installation work is monumental in nature, and can change energy in a space, or feeling in a person or group of people.
This artist is known for his sculptural power and play with unusual materials, but this installation is a unique and new series for him. Hawkins was also involved in another exhibition at the Packing Plant, in unit #1, “Purposeful Perplexities,” with interesting work made of glass, steel, gold leaf and bronze.
Another artist in the “YOU ARE HERE” exhibition that stopped me dead in my tracks was a work by Patrick Quan called Bent Paper. Quan’s work was recently on view at UCR ARTSblock, in “Accidents and Failures” that just closed a couple weeks ago. His work is delicate and curious, often made from found objects. His work in this exhibition is a brand new work that resembles a boulder that has started to crumble under pressure. Made from one single sheet of paper, this giant paper rock sits solemnly, as if about to blow away without a care in the world, but as it has been fixed with some kind of fixative, it won’t. The conceptual power of this rock seems infinite, but resonates so clearly within me. Steady and stern as a boulder, this object seems immovable; though beautiful and elegant, it is slightly crumpled, a little worn and torn, and yet, it can be so easily destroyed—made of nothing more than paper.
“YOU ARE HERE: Installations & Space Expanse” at the Pomona Packing Plant-Live/Work Industrial Lofts, 560 E. Commercial St. Unit 8, Pomona, closing reception: Sat., Oct. 19, 4PM-10PM. Free.