Erik Bluhm – “Cooperate With The Energy And Anything That Happens”
12 January – 9 February 2008
For this show at David Patton Los Angeles, Bluhm will present a number of medium and large-scale collages constructed from small, curved edge, colored pieces of vintage books, magazines and the occasional album cover applied to a foundation of paper. The resulting images appear as symbols and shapes or, as Bluhm describes them, “iconic images and shapes that are forms identifiable as significant, yet only inherently. They withhold too much to qualify as concretely vital, yet in their shapes and designs are embedded the often thorny markers of being, sometimes cryptically representative, sometimes transparent and spiritual.”
The formal elements of Bluhm’s collages: egg shapes circled with rings of various colors, a bird outline surrounded by cuttings of sunrises and sunsets, fans of color and shapes emerging from a horizon-suggest natural hierarchies, vague histories, or nebulous belief systems. While these elements reference what seems like, from the vantage point of today, a very distant past (or possibly an unrealized future), they too have a firm existence in the now. Explains Bluhm, “The notion that these forms have a presence larger than their existence stems from two origins. One, that the iconic presence of the contoured shape art suggests sculptural aspirations, anticipating capturing ‘the emotion we sustain before sculpture,’ and two, that these contours, both their crisp exterior outlines and their inner piecemeal construction, exist not only in their own space upon the paper, but also within the paper, in the history and variances of its inks and printing, its age and texture.”
Erik Bluhm’s work explores the conception of intentional communities and collectives and the perception of these social and artistic families and creative movements. Examples of these groups would range from Germanic turn-of-the-century back-to-nature movements to various post-war Southern Californian forms of alternative living and belief systems (natural foods, communal living histories and East-meets-West religious movements). As a founder of The West Coast New Energy Encounter Group, a subset of the greater New Energy movement, Bluhm and his colleagues have presented musical performances, theatre, films and other cooperative productions that both display and explore aspects and histories of collaborative movements and groups. Erik Bluhm’s work has been exhibited at Hiromi Yoshii Gallery in Tokyo, Atelier Cardenas Bellanger Gallery in Paris, and 2841 Harrison in San Francisco. The West Coast New Energy Encounter Group’s recent performances have been Garden Grove Creative Community at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Circular Performance Demonstration With French Percussionists and Actors at The Purple Night of the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, and Timed Duration of Organ, Flute and Slow Movement (as the New Energy Dark Consort of Musicke) at Fritz Haeg’s Sundown Salon.