Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Symbolic Forms

Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez
The Geisel Gallery

in the former Bausch & Lomb Building
downtown Rochester, New York

The School for American Craft has been a part of Rochester Institute of Technology for many years and recently  Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez has provided leadership to this segment of the institution, and as well as being a Professor, he is also a professional - in the sense that he is actively making new sculpture - and you may have seen his large work outside Edibles on University Avenue.  I have seen that Carlos can work large and small, in fact there have been delicate works he has produced and sold as jewelry in the shop at The Memorial Art Gallery.  Now a recent group of his sculptures that he calls "Symbolic Forms" is creating a strong impression in the Geisel Gallery for the month of August.

Carlos' large scale art on University Avenue
Rochester, New York

The Geisel Gallery this month has a robust show of sculpture from Carlos, and I had a chance to talk with him about these works on exhibit.  I wanted to know how he made some of these pieces, they all seem to have been completed recently, does he have assistants who weld the pieces together? How does he manage to make the steel look like lace?

Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez
Geisel Gallery
this August

The parts of the sculpture that look like lace are cut with lasers from computer files that power tools that are extremely accurate.  If these are symbolic forms - what is it that they can be symbols of? 
Is this the circle of life?  I like the centralized openings in Carlos' works, and many of them depend on graceful curves that encompass this opening, and the sculptures seem to breathe and articulate his ideas about the spirit of the object.

Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez

The forms he chooses to work with are simple and evocative.  At the end of the gallery is a large standing work that has a figurative presence but still maintains its abstraction.  Many of the welded pieces in this show have a surface that is buffed in a certain way as to reveal what look like brush strokes.  We have seen this before in the art of David Smith.  Sometimes a work from Carlos can recall Smith, at other times I see an echo of the art of Brancusi or even the Russian artist Naum Gabo.  I only wished for a bit more space in this exhibition - maybe even a chance to see one of these works outdoors, and see how it interacts with daylight.

Here is the artist himself working at the bench, below.

Juan Carlos Caballlero-Perez