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Tony Delap, Modern Times, 2009 at Royale Projects, Indian Wells, CA
Mysticana, 2009 13 x 13 x 8 feet Painted steel Nexus Companies One MacArthur Place, Santa Ana, CA 92707
What is remarkable about a day’s work and how each day becomes a reputation. Tony Delap’s show Modern Times at Royale Projects has an anthro-dynamic quality that expands issues of design and craftsmanship into a morality of personal accomplishment. Early in his career Delap challenged the rigidity of what constituted and separated painting from sculpture. Through this slippage between genres he conceived the colored forms that made him one of our influential fathers of west coast minimalism. Unlike minimalist works that required factory contracts, Delap’s work in this exhibition is human scale, embracing people and self, asserting questions about perception and what people comprehend.
There is surety to these works, an essential there-ness of geometric solids that can morph, mixing up what is real and unreal. Referencing consciousness itself, the possibility of shifting one’s perception can become both literal and metaphoric as an impassive viewer is encouraged to look further and see what is really going on with the shapes and shadows. There is ontology in how the work can fool the eye and cause a viewer to question, to change position, to shift their sight line like somebody trying to decide if that really is the Virgin Mary’s silhouette on the tortilla.
Accompanying the built forms are numerous drawings. Delap uses a “poetic method” in all of his works, the constructions exercise presence or uncertainty but the drawings are in fact short poems, all there all at once. They require a different kind of cognition than is normally used to perceive written language yet there is a written-ness to them. Even though they have suggestively formal ties to pie graphs, pennants and architectural form, for me they conjure the idea of a person at the drawing table, alone with their mind. Walter Lab Palm Desert CA