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Installation View of “Gisela Colon: Pods.” (Photo by Jessica Harrington.)

Colon’s ‘Pods’ exhibit at Hilliard Museum through Aug. 24

Among the summer exhibits at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum is “Gisela Colon: Pods.”
The exhibition features the work of Gisela Colon, an American contemporary artist who has developed a unique vocabulary of organic minimalism, breathing life into reductive forms.
Upon entering the gallery, one is surrounded by wall-hung biomorphic forms in multiple glowing hues that seem to transmute, interacting in new and unpredictable ways, with every variation in the room’s illumination and every shift of the viewer’s perspective.
Forms within the forms also seem to move and alter. Shaped like amoebae and radiating like gems, the works evoke life both at its most primordial level and, simultaneously, at its most technically advanced and aesthetically refined. The way viewers interact with the Pods - by moving around and among them, by drawing closer and stepping back, by observing the differences wrought by variations in sunlight or levels of artificial lighting - is essential to the artist’s aims and the work’s meaning.
Colon is principally concerned, she has said, with “non-linearity, shape-shifting, fluidity, liquidity, temporality, motion” - everything, in other words, that is contrary to “stasis.” And, indeed, in examining her work one encounters no acute angles, no flat contours and no rough surfaces. The constructivist aspects of Modernism - straight vectors, the grid, uniform modules - are here superseded. Sinuousness, brightness, protozoan shapes, mystery and opulence prevail. Once engaged with the Pods, the eye and the mind never rest. Everything is flow and change.
Colon, born in Canada in 1966, was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Puerto Rico in 1987 and a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, California, in 1990. Colon lives and works in Los Angeles.
Colon is an American contemporary artist who has developed a unique vocabulary of “organic minimalism,” breathing life-like qualities into reductive forms. Colon’s oeuvre encompasses several distinct sculptural forms: Pods, Slabs, Monoliths and Portals. The through-line in all of Colon’s work is the concept of the “mutable object;” the sculptures are conceived as variable objects that transmute their physical qualities through fluctuating movement, varied lighting, changing environmental conditions and the passage of time.
The Pods are created through a proprietary fabrication method of blow-molding and layering various acrylic materials, producing transformational objects that emanate light and color from within. The Slabs are 8-foot tall hybrid creations that amalgamate the use of acrylic technology with polished stainless steel, resulting in objects that hover between materiality and immateriality. The Monoliths are 12- and 15-foot tall vertical singular-form sculptures, engineered with aerospace technology, possessing no lines, corners, edges or demarcations, conceived as pure form to denote clarity and aesthetic purity. The Portals are extremely streamlined 8-foot tall wall relief sculptures that exude disembodied light and morphing color, pulling the viewer towards the work and into a liminal/metaphysical space.
Colon began her career as a painter, exhibiting abstract works from 2005 to 2011. In 2012, Colon moved into sculpture, focusing on perceptual phenomena. Colon’s friendship with mentor DeWain Valentine, and the ideas and practices of Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Larry Bell, John McCracken and Doug Wheeler, amongst others, generated a conceptual shift in her work, increasing her interest in issues of visual perception and materiality, which led to the creation of her sculptural bodies of work. Colon’s sculptural practice of generating interplay between light, perception and lucid materiality embodies the ideals and the evolving investigations of the California Light and Space movement.
Colon also has been influenced by Minimalism, particularly the writings and work of Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and Agnes Martin, amongst others. Taking a cue from Judd’s notion of “specific objects,” Colon has dubbed her own works “non-specific objects” to highlight their deliberate fluid indeterminacy.
Colon’s work is also the product of cross-cultural influences. Colon identifies the early influence of Latin American artists such as Jesus Rafael Soto and Carlos Cruz-Diez on her practice. Colon’s sculptural work continues a conversation with Latin American geometric modernism and the legacy of OpArt.
The Pods exhibit will be on display through Aug. 24.
The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum is located at 710 East St. Mary Blvd. in Lafayette.
For more information call (337) 482-2278 or visit www.hilliardmuseum.org.

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