Flight to paradise in cast aluminum

Over the last few years I’ve seen at least three exhibitions of sculpture by Matt Proctor. None have been the same, maybe not even similar. The variation is refreshing considering how much the art world encourages its own sort of "branding." Not to say the work doesn’t have any continuity – it is all engaging – but the restlessness in materials will keep you reassessing and readjusting your idea of the artist.

The collection of work currently at Ogle (310 N.W. Broadway) is like a winter wonderland, without white (or anything resembling snow) used. Titled "Flight from Present to Paradise," the entire exhibition is formed with poured cast aluminum. It sparkles in its hard shine. Poured aluminum may give you the idea that the work is smooth but it’s not. The hand of artist is all over the work, with dips and bends, which contribute to the fractured light dancing over the surface. Edges of works are jagged like icicles, sharp to the touch.

All of this does not create, however, a barren, uninviting view. While the exhibition displays a "beware" sign at the entrance as regards to touch, this is a group of works you will carefully want to caress, just as the sculptor has, and if not with your hands then with your eyes. The brittle quality has intrigue while the scale offers a commitment that you as a viewer must match. The cool tones are particularly highlighted against the lush red floors of Ogle.

Odd bits of color are thrown in here and there in ways perhaps not completely successful. Are they a comic relief or a minor distraction? A small plastic red toy boat rides a perfectly formed swell. While the toy boat affirms that yes, we are indeed looking at a swell, the disparity of materials is a distracting detail. Some color changes were welcome, as in the case of a black crow perched in a silver tree or the red interior of the clam.

The elevated lily pads reminded me a bit of Brian Borrello’s "Silicon Forest" installation for the Interstate MAX. While these particular pieces are neither entirely user-friendly nor child-proof, no doubt Proctor could set his sights successfully on public art projects if he cared to.