Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dangerous Curves: Steve Gorman at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art

Three things can happen when you break big as an artist (permit me to mix my metaphors for a bit here):

1. You can be the Starland Vocal Band, a one-hit wonder that drops off the charts and out of the collective consciousness for all but the occasional three-minute span on oldies radio;

2. You can be Sheryl Crow, who's having a nice but hardly groundbreaking career, or;

3. You can be the Beatles and blow the minds of generations to come.

All three of the aforementioned acts won the Grammy for Best New Artist (a designation which seems a bit odd, as musicians might have been paying dues for years before being honored). After that ... well, you know.

Returning to the visual arts, it wouldn't have been out of line for scene-watchers to wonder how Steve Gorman would follow up the huge success of his show last year at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.

Ten seconds through the door of Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art should send any thoughts of a sophomore slump screaming for the exits, beaten and bloodied. Gorman's Below the Surface, which opened last night and runs through Feb. 25 in the Crossroads space, is a fantastic show in both subject matter and execution.

Gorman mixes, juxtaposes, blends and stirs here-there-be-dragons monstrosity ...

Killer Octopus: The Bottom Dweller

with perilous whimsy (and vice versa) ...


with unabashed but dangerous sensuality ...

The Taken

and uses all of those curved ceramic surfaces as delivery platforms for his spot-on color selections. Given the biological themes of his work, it's fair to call this a perfect symbiotic relationship.

It is the intention to first allure the viewer’s attention through the aid of vivid graduated color, Gorman writes, yet simultaneously due to the ambiguity of the hybridized form, the desire exists to leave you pondering this question: “Just what exactly am I looking at?”

Some answers might seem readily apparent; don't be fooled. Go back, and back again. Gorman's work in this seductive, mystery-laden exhibition is worth the exploration ... and the more his creations reveal themselves, the more it becomes apparent that his career is still on the ascent.

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