Artist: Nick Bamford
Media: Ceramics, various objects, plaster, cement, foam, wood
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist: Nick is currently finishing up his last semester at CSULB for his bachelor’s in ceramics. Hailing from Huntington Beach (as do I), Nick became interested in art at a young age and found joy in drawing as a child. In high school, he became inspired by a ceramics class to study art in college, and plans on pursuing his Masters degree after graduation. Nick also enjoys playing the guitar in his spare time.
Formal Analysis: Nick’s untitled, eclectic assemblage of raw and treated materials evokes a strong sense of chaos with purpose. There is a great beauty in the three abstract sculptures created from trash; the glaring neon lights, the organic ooze seeping from gaping corners, and the mechanical nature of the shadows created from the large, looming silhouettes. They appear to be spawned of a nightmare, taking their first shaking steps out from the abyss into a world of darkness, industry, and pollution. In their seemingly “random” construction, the sculptures appear to also have an intended structure, and sit carefully balanced, ready to collapse at any moment. This beautiful balance, coupled with the horrific and demonic imagery within, lends itself to become a noteworthy mixture of the senses and expectations. Entering the gallery felt like entering a rave from hell, or a laboratory full of experiments led awry. The sharp, mystifying, colorful abstraction left me hypnotized.
Content Analysis: Nick wished to create an exhibition utilizing black lights, and this show proved to be the perfect platform to do so. Recycling, re-purposing, and renewing are all themes that can be found within the sculptures. Objects from different contexts coming together as a new one, and creating a new work from old things are both seen in the use of shoes, a shopping cart, and various other knick-knacks. For Nick, this proved to be a very personal artistic journey, as he shaped the figures from his mind into reality. He chose to use a dark gallery because he had not seen it been done before at CSULB, and I must agree that it made for a very unique viewing experience.
My Experience: I found Nick’s untitled exhibition to be very exciting and pleasing to the senses. The abstract nature of the sculptures and attention to detail caused me to stand underneath them in awe, and the use of creative objects in different positions allowed me to appreciate the craft of ceramics. It also made me realize that ceramics do not always have to be someone making pots out of clay, but can be made out of everyday objects placed on a skeleton of cement, foam, wood, and ceramic material. The bright, neon lights grabbed my attention immediately and drew me into the darkness of gallery, flooding my senses with sharp corners, gooey ooze, and a breezy fan. The exhibition was straight out of a nightmare, yet I was not eager to wake up right away.