Somewhere lost in the sea of Instagram pictures relating to the super bloom, one can encounter the genuine reality of infinitesimal space. Flowers, seeds, and spores are minute realities that serve as a point of convergence, bringing about an inquisitive conversation relating to nature, a conversation rooted in the transformative power of beauty and creation.
Subject all too familiar for Joshua Abarbanel who creates meticulous articulations of it in the medium of wood; each of the artworks exhibited as a part of “It’s Only Natural” as presented by TAJ• ART Studio Gallery, serves as an aesthetic articulation and query into the passage of time as exemplified by nature.
“It’s Only Natural” became the catalyst for a recent visit to Antelope Valley, thus a query about spatial agency emerged. How can something as tiny as a seed, generate a transformation so vast that thousands of people flock to remote lands to witness the ephemeral ethereality of existence? How does something so small, generate such a sizable impact?
Hull Two sits on top of a wooden surface at TAJ• ART Studio Gallery; a structure comparable to the Fibonacci spiral made of both stained and natural wood that has been intervened on by Abarbanel himself. What appears to be hundreds of small wooden fragments, which have been laser-cut to perfection, cluster together in a symphony of organic forms mimetic of nature itself. The cohesion of the fragments that make up the artwork, transcend aesthetic repetition and become a visual exploration into the infinite possibilities allowed by this occurrence. I have witnessed on occasion how many get lost in its potential, its beauty, its reality, in the spirals that seem to bring you closer and release you simultaneously from their grip. The agency bestowed upon this artwork by Abarbanel himself serves as a metaphor for understanding the concept of creation while creating a tension between the natural media used for this piece and the man-made process used to alter the medium.
Seed Field One is by far the most intriguing artwork in the exhibition. The smallest in scale and the birth of “It’s Only Natural.” At a mere eight by ten inches, Seed Field One stands as the unique microcosm that unifies the entire exhibition, converging both the structural concerns of the more sculptural artworks while also providing a passage into the expanding planes of its larger counterparts. Unlike the rest of the artworks in the exhibition, Seed Field One requires an intimate interaction, a more thoughtful conversation, and a one-on-one investigation into its natural tendencies. Made up of what appears to be a spore-like configuration that expands beyond the picture plane into the sides of the wooden structure, serving as the backdrop for multiple fractals that have been positioned by Abarbanel to convey arrangements of wooden segments suggestive of flowers, it serves as a reminder of the aesthetic perfection found in nature. However, it also points to the immense power confined in microscopic occurrences. Thus Seed Field One in its minuscule configuration transcends its counterparts in that it demands attention.
Image courtesy of Leunam Zirdlerav
The intimacy provided by TAJ•ART Studio Gallery serves to magnify the agency of the presented artworks, it heightens the articulations that Joshua Abarbanel sets forth with all the pieces that make up “It’s Only Natural,” and creates a challenge into an examination about the reality of nature, the agency that rests at a minuscule scale of a structure and foremost signals to ephemeral ethereality found in nature.
By Erika Hirugami, MAAB | Founder & CEO at CuratorLove
Exhibit on view March 11 – April 15, 2017