Mixing shadows with gleaming gold luster, and dull brutal surfaces with delicate fine detail, Colleen Toledano’s “Flux,” currently on display at Indigo Art, is a bright collection of her recent work.
Viewing the exhibit feels like the other side of an epiphany when an insightful idea illuminates the world in a new way. Toledano showcases the challenges, chores and cracks that provide the bedrock for insight and growth, allowing the conflicts and repairs in these eight pieces to sparkle with an emotional power.
A mixed-media artist, Toledano is an assistant professor of art at SUNY Buffalo State. Her work generally explores relationships between bodies and the environment, as well as self-improvement as a tactic for power and control.
“Flux” is concerned with the development of intimate personal connections and the home, as peaked roof structures inhabit most of the pieces. In “Work,” three cylinders erode in different levels to reveal one of these structures with a floral print and a gold outline, exposing the labor it takes to build relationships with other people.
Making wide use of the Japanese practice of Kintsugi – fixing broken ceramics with gold outlining – Toledano highlights flaws, outlines objects and covers jagged spaces with bright gold. The outlining and framing adds to the overdecorated excitement, value and joy in each piece.
“Past, Present” uses golden lines to convey momentum and direction with a pair of hyperextended floral-patterned and white-lined houses exploding from a cloud of moss. Both of the houses also have large cracks, which all but ooze blood along their seams. On the delicate twin ceramic hearts of “The Light Between,” the damage already is stapled and stitched up with smooth sutures, surrounded by golden threads embedded into flat houses of concrete.
“Candelabra,” is made up of 24 reclaimed floral pattern plates on the wall that loosely form an eponymous silhouette arranged with a second floral pattern with a lustered outline. The glinting gold enriches and fastens together what could be a quiet cacophony otherwise.
These little details make clever pieces like “Choice” work without being didactic or indirect. The piece is comprised of a white house frame with acetate illustrations for two walls and the roof, which is just illustrated shingles. One of the walls is a backward architectural floor plan with a forward facing red heart printed on it. Opposite that wall is a brain, printed forward on a matching forward printed floor plan. You can line them up and the small LED chandelier between the two walls that lights up with a small blue tinged light is just about perfect to highlight living between these two extremes.
This balance between the overdecorated and subtle is key to unlocking the warmth and joy in the rigidity of the materials. Toledano works with such felicity she finds ways to transform rigid objects into fluid emotions in front of your eyes.
There will be an artist reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 11, including a gallery talk at 7 p.m.
What: “Flux: Recent work by Colleen Toledano”
Where: Indigo Art, 47 Allen St.
When: Through Jan. 4