Casting call

HANNA MARTENS/Durango Herald

Shay Lopez prepares his plaster creations for tonight’s interactive “Blank-Coated Silence” event at Studio &.

By Ted Holteen Herald staff writer

There are times when the cleverest of wordsmiths find themselves at a loss for words. Such is the case of this writer and tonight’s “Blank-Coated Silence” gig at Studio &.

Artist and writer Shay Lopez can be intriguingly baffling on an average day, but add a performance element by Austrian-Colombian performance artist Adriana Cubides, and we’re left with a nearly inexplicable but nonetheless fascinating display that must be seen to be understood. And even that’s not a guarantee.

Here’s what we know. Lopez has created 17 plaster pieces – a few life-size human forms, some body parts, a guitar – that will be on display. The human forms recall the images of Pompeiian volcano victims, but that wasn’t Lopez’s intention. He drew his inspiration from an exhibition he saw more than decade ago in France when artist Niki de St. Phalle fired a rifle into a wall of plaster, eliciting a stream of blood-like paint from the “wounds.” Lopez will not be shooting any guns, but there are many secrets below the surface of his figures.

“That’s one part of the inspiration for the show,” Lopez said Wednesday while putting the finishing touches on his pieces. “The other is an interactive element, where we ask viewers to interact with the sculptures, and Adriana will be a part of that. “A lot of it is the contrast between white and how there is potential for color in that emptiness,” he said.

Much, but not all, of Lopez’s effort will be concluded by show time, but Cubides’ work will just be getting started.

“He wanted this idea of revealing, for me to be something that’s emerging,” Cubides said. “The body parts are fragile and stiff, so I can’t move freely, but I’ve been understanding how I can make them a life, as part of my body and a strange body that I relate to. It has been difficult to do because it’s very unpredictable.”

As Lopez and Cubides made their final preparations Wednesday, other elements emerged. Lopez wielded two new turkey basters that he will use to drip paint onto his sculptures. He also revealed a slew of secret panels within several of the sculptures that will show colors and textures not visible on the surface of the figures. That’s as much as we know going in to tonight’s event, but both artists are confident they can pull it off with a little teamwork.

“He’s not a performer, and I’m not a sculptor, but there’s a meeting in the concepts,” Cubides said. “It’s not ‘let’s go to my field or his field.’ They really cross. “His perception of movement is similar to mine, and it’s complementary. We dug into the potential, and now we’re digging into the manifestation – how we learn each other’s artistic language,” she said.

ted@durangoherald.com

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