Art Ltd., February/March 2017: Review by Jody Zellen

"Gisela Colon: HYPER-MINIMAL at Diane Rosenstein Gallery"

Feb. 23, 2017

At first glance, Gisela Colon’s wall- and floor-based sculptures seem other-worldly, as if they were pods from another planet where allusive shimmering surfaces were the norm. Although the works share a kinship with the previous generation of California Light and Space artists, who like Colon, were interested in optical and perceptual phenomena, her objects have a lushness and sensuality that is absent in the work of her male counterparts. These non-specific-objects, a term Colon uses to describe her work (as opposed to Donald Judd’s notion of specific objects) exist in the realm between painting and sculpture. In some ways they are neither, while simultaneously being both. 

The show’s title “Hyper-Minimal” is an exacting description of these works. The forms—pod-like ellipses and rectangles—are minimal whereas their interiors are energetic (hyper), constantly changing arrays of metallic colors. This ambitious exhibition features 12 distinctive works, albeit one of them, Rectanguloid Progression (7 Units Silver) (all works 2016), is comprised of seven parts. Each 42-by-26 by 9-inch blow-molded acrylic unit is backed with a gradient that oscillates from blue to pink to green, situated beneath a silver oval that appears to be suspended within the interior. The works shift subtly as viewers move past them. What is most fascinating about Colon’s sculptures is how they change when seen from different perspectives. The irregularly shaped forms have an uncanny depth when viewed both from the sides and straight on. This is most evident in Colon’s floor-based monoliths. These phallic shaped pieces rise from the gallery floor aglow in pulsating colors that emanate from within. Untitled (Monolith Black) is a giant nine-foot tall transparent green form that magically supports a smaller blackish-blue shape suspended in the interior, whereas Untitled (Monolith Silver) is more opaque with a reflective silver surface. 

The works have a curious dimensionality from every vantage point and invite close scrutiny, as their fabrication is quite compelling and mysterious. Colon delights in challenging viewers through the creation of ambiguous works that defy categorization. The pieces have a presence and a resonance, and Colon succeeds in fashioning unsolvable optical illusions that inspire wonder far beyond their formal properties.