Another fun exhibit I saw recently is from abstract sculptor Luke Achterberg, who draws inspiration from two very specific American sub-cultures: urban graffiti and hot-rodding. Achterberg uses the combination of these two very particular aesthetics to create a new visual language.
Conceptually, these are bold, contemporary embellishments of structures unrelated to the contemporary additions of spray paint or automotive adornments that stylize and personalize their functional substrates. Aesthetically, his work is the dynamic link that bridges them together; an expressive look Achterberg refers to as “SuperSleek.”
The artist’s interest in hot-rodding stems from growing up with the welders and automotive customizers in his family; he is a certified welder himself. He uses his industrial skills and adds his own touch, which transforms raw steel and automotive paint into works of elegance and meaning.
He captures both the academic ideals of fine art and the technical aptitude that graffiti artists and custom automotive specialists develop outside of academia.
Achterberg’s work translates the emotional gesture that is seen in both of his muses. He employs curving forms with whiplash tendrils that animate the works and afford them an anthropomorphic nature, as if someone’s tag or custom paint job came to life. Each has a balance of line and form, color and pattern, and also the physical, structural balance of the heavy steel. And yet, the works give the impression of floating, almost dancing, across the wall.
Luke Achterberg’s Made in the USA will be on Exhibit Through March 14th, 2015 at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts – NY, Located at 529 W 20th Street, Suite 6W, in the Chelsea Gallery District.