By Connie Thwaite
It’s no accident that I chose “Germination,” the current exhibit of sculptor David Marquez’s work, as the topic of my first SKyPAC post. To my mind, Marquez’s sculptures are simply all of the things that current, original art should be.
Marquez’s “Testosterone,” a work in steel, cast iron and rubber, with a swirl of precisely placed wire, captivated me—and I’m not easily captivated. Sure, I may stand in front of a piece of art that particularly strikes me and, for a few moments, admire the artist’s technique and vision. But “Testosterone” grabbed me. I studied it from the left and from the right, from up close to six or so feet back. Then, while viewing other pieces in the exhibit, I returned to “Testosterone” a number of times.
Words that came to mind: Sensational. Compelling. Potent. And, yes, in its deliberate depiction of the most vulnerable aspect of the male form, somewhat shocking—although not overtly sexually provocative.
In this piece and throughout the exhibit, Marquez invites us to ponder “an unfamiliar familiarity” while contemplating the existence we share with our environment. Inspired by natural forms such as vines dangling from fossilized trees, impressions found in rock formations and bulbous shapely pods, he incorporates wood, bronze, steel, iron, ceramics and other mediums into intentionally minimal, stripped down works.
“During my youth,” Marquez says, “I haunted the wooded areas and farmland of Edmonson County, Kentucky. Through these solitary explorations in my own backyard and in the places I have traveled since, I found inspiration that still influences my work today.”
The result of these influences is three-dimensional art that blurs the lines between industrial, biological and organic forms. This is not an exhibit that you browse through, admire and leave unaffected. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself, as I did, contemplating Marquez’s vision and its implications about our existence in a world where industry and technology increasingly surpass nature as the primary forces shaping our lives.
The exhibit is free and open to the public Monday – Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. through October 31, 2014 at the SKyPAC Main Gallery. Join us for a reception honoring the artist on October 17, 2014 in conjunction with the Bowling Green Gallery Hop from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
About the Artist
Marquez received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Western Kentucky University and a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from The University of Iowa. He presently teaches sculpture and 3D-design at WKU. Along with several solo, national and international exhibitions, his work has been included in numerous juried, group and solo exhibitions throughout the eastern states as far west as Texas. His outdoor work is included at Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum in Indiana, and has been exhibited at Manifest Gallery in Ohio, Cheekwood’s Temporary Contemporary in Tennessee, Huntsville Museum of Art in Alabama and several galleries regionally. His work is currently represented by Heike Pickett Gallery in Versailles, KY. He recently was awarded a prestigious Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council.