From the mundane to the sublime

Plastic display and sculptures made of found objects fill college art gallery.

June 20, 2007|By Erica Liu

A brass chandelier, a dented traffic cone and a metal traffic sign have been given new leases on life at the Glendale Community College Art Gallery.

The items have been incorporated into three art pieces on display in the "Summer Show" featuring artists Carlos Mollura and Chris Nichols. The show opened with a reception on Saturday and continues through Aug. 10.

For the show, Mollura, who was born in Argentina and is based in Los Angeles, created a 25-feet-tall tricolored, PVC film sculpture inspired by Neapolitan ice cream.


The black, clear and pink inflated plastic column of varying levels of opacity was specifically designed for the site and is illuminated from above by the skylight from which it extends.

The plastic material is supposed to be reminiscent of beach balls and toys, Mollura said. In designing his sculpture, he said he was less interested in the object itself than he was in the atmosphere, surrounding environment and the optical effects created, he said.

The piece was inspired by the California Light and Space movement of the 1960s and '70s, which was dominated by the likes of Robert Irwin and James Turrell, Mollura said. In concocting his concept, Mollura considered the three states of matter (solid, gas and liquid) and associated them with different visual types (opaque, clear and tinted).

This reminded him of Neapolitan ice cream, with its contrasting bands of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry and the sculpture's concept was born.

He intended for the sculpture to transport viewers from the gallery.

"Hopefully it will take them out of the gallery or maybe give them an effect or feeling they wouldn't typically experience," he said.

"It should be a new way of experiencing the gallery, creating a new space, a magical space. It's not a typical kind of sculpture you put on a pedestal. The pedestal is the room itself," Mollura said.

Mollura, who considers PVC film his signature material, has exhibited extensively throughout the United States, particularly in Los Angeles and New York, and in Germany since graduating from the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1991.

After slowing his artistic output for a while, Mollura decided the GCC gallery would be the perfect place to get the ball rolling again.

The same stark white, skylight-lighted gallery space also featured five sculptures made of items collected by Nichols on his many walks through Eagle Rock over a few years.

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