In a series of striking images that combine still-life photography with impromptu sculpture, Los Angeles artist David Gilbert establishes himself as a master of junk. Gilbert creates tranquility out of a skillfully designed mess of drawings, canvases, studio furnishings and random detritus—yarn, tablecloths, clothing—reflecting his mesmerizing attention to color, composition and drapery.
Almost all of the works use natural light. In the deftly staged Drama at Sunset (Summer), dusk tints the studio’s windows a theatrical purplish-orange. In Dawn, daylight beaming through windows is offset by the whiteness of the wall and the artist’s props: a tablecloth draped over black-and-purple cardboard, and a ballerina’s slipper set into the middle of a dangling wire sculpture.
Gilbert’s L.A. spirit pierces through the witty, cheerful and cheekily titled Girlfriend! in which a wooden stick, wrapped in green and pink rags, sits in a red bucket while propped against a gauze curtain. The latter is torn to reveal a large gray paper sheet underneath, painted with a fuchsia x on a white background. Despite their studied arrangements, these compositions find Gilbert refreshingly unafraid to be poetic, gestural and expressive—at least through the safe remove of his camera.—Nana Asfour