01/20/2023 - 04/08/2023
BLOW UP II: Inflatable Contemporary Art explores the medium of inflatable art with imagery that is figurative, conceptual, and abstract. These large-scale inflatable sculptures, conceived by nine artists and art collectives from around the world, connote fun and whimsy, are familiar yet strange and challenge the definition of art. Here, in an unusual feat, artists use air as an active tool in their work to subvert our perspective and surprise us.
Featuring a new roster of artists, BLOW UP II includes work by Nicole Banowetz, Sharon Engelstein, FriendsWithYou, Josh Harker, Susan Lee-Chun, Matt Ritchie, Lizbeth Rossof, Jen Stark, and Max Streicher– many of whom have never worked in the inflatable medium previously. The resulting artworks reflect a variety of themes, including consumerism, pop culture, history, and even mortality. Many of the works convey a surreal sensibility through over-sized scale or an uncanny human connection, like Max Striecher’s sculptures that appear to be living, breathing beings. From the outset, the artworks in BLOW UP II appear fun and playful; however, there is a touch of melancholy throughout the show as we are reminded that these objects live their full lifecycle every day. Once the gallery lights dim, the artworks deflate and await their resurrection the following day. There is an odd relationship with these inflatable objects as they are just as dependent on air as we are.
Holding our attention with wonderment and delight, the uniqueness of BLOW UP II—at once humorous and whimsical—creates a spectacular, immersive environment that allows for deeper contemplation. By harnessing the power of air, the ideas and possibilities in art-making seem endless, and creativity is left to take flight.
Organized by the Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA
Photo Restriction: Photography allowed in the exhibition (no flash, no tripods)
Touch Restriction: Non-touch exhibition
Exhibition Language(s): English
Potential Challenges for Visitors With:
Young children – parents should keep children close while navigating through the installation art in this gallery
Noise sensitivity – constant noise from fans can be heard throughout this gallery
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