Brooklyn-based artist Andrew Sutherland works as a composer of mundane materials and uneventful spaces. Using corrugated cardboard, vinyl and medium density fiberboard, he recalls iconographic minimalists Sol LeWitt and Tony Smith. Colorful, layered work in ethylene vinyl acetate like 2005’s ‘Scrap Bin,’ leans toward late-career Frank Stella, but the work itself has taken Paxil to relieve its anxiety. Instead of working large, he operates in small dimensions.
Corrugated cardboard is the substance and surface of the artist’s most elegant work, like his representations of wood grain (above)—made by layering paper into the form of a tree and then cutting it down into slabs—and the complexly simple renderings of semi-surreal boxes recently exhibited at New York’s Pulse Contemporary Art Fair. (More woodgrain and other paper-based work pictured above and after the jump.)
Sutherland graduated from Fort Lewis College, Colorado with a BA in multimedia art and has built his reputation as one of many young artists complimenting gallery showings with ad-hoc public expressions. His small wood plaques and large paintings are both sculptural graffiti and environmental interventions. ‘Stoner Bridge’, a three-day painting ‘event’ executed under a highway pass in Manitou Springs, Colorado where teenagers party, is as much about dignifying the area of secret, pain-concealing moments as it is about calling attention to the concrete form.
Artists with high graffiti-era street honors, like Carlos Rolon aka DZine, started doing ‘sculptural graffiti’ like Sullivan in the late 1980’s and continued as they moved into gallery showings and museum installations. Working in the genealogy of this tradition has brought press from
In the past, MDF, EVA and vinyl, have been used in furniture design and interior architecture in very garish ways. Sutherland new forms reify the utilitarian grace and eye-appeal of these synthetics.
Andrew Sullivan is represented by Sixspace Gallery in Culver City, California.