Friday, May 2, 2008

Even More On Sopo's Frame Show, Canvases, and Space

(Updated, see below)

I haven't talked to anyone involved with the recent bicycle frame show at Radial Cafe.

I have built up a pretty good concept for the show in my head: painted metal bicycle frames, but painted upon as if they were flat canvases wrapped around three dimensional bars, not as if they were sculptural or architectural pieces.

Not surprisingly, I preferred work from the show which violated the methodology I'd dream't up before getting to Radial Cafe last Saturday night.

Stephanie Howard's bike is a pretty good example of what I'm talking about. She's both painted and sculpted the surface of the frame, transforming it completely. I'm reminded of Man Ray's The Gift.

Of course, since these bikes were given to local artists to be worked on and then resold as functional frames, the artist's decision to use concrete as a painting material could be seen as a bit gauche.

(I didn't get a good photo of Sister Louisa's bike, but his frame was about as "unbike-y" as Howard's, covered with bright plastic lighters, praying nuns, and action-figure sized penises.)

This one was made by Linda Costa. While it takes less artistic risks than Howard's bike, the level of detail and thought put into this was fantastic. Out of all the bikes I saw last Saturday, this was my favorite in terms of the artist's ability to meld functionality and beauty.

Taking another look through my photos of Costa's bike, I'm struck again by the amount of care and imagination she's put into every inch of this thing. Those hands in the top center of the photo, the tiny bits of bike narratives over the entire frame, the thing's dreamlike consistency... just fantastic.


Jeremy said...

Ah, I had no idea that was Linda's bike. (I'm not usually a fan of "light painting," but I really like her work. She did that photo I bought a month or two ago.)

Nice. I'm a little sad I didn't see this show, but, to be honest, all the hype kind of turned me off. It's hard to believe that something "will be awesome" when people say it way too much.

Fifth said...

Huh, didn't realize that was the same Linda. Neat!

I think a few of the bikes were awesome, but the bike lineup as a whole was probably a bit lacking (especially if you were hoping to see more art than design).

I think the show was pretty damn successful - lots of happy people (about half of them not part of the art show crowd), lots of great music, good party atmosphere.

Jes said...

Nice review! We (at Sopo) had a lot of fun getting it all together!

Elizabeth said...


how does it feel to be twenty-something years old??

Ben Grad said...

Jes - thanks!

Elizabeth - terrible! I want to crawl into a sewer pipe and live the rest of my short life on fish heads and muckwater!

Ant said...

The show was good good, and yes great music!

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