As I was passing on from gallery to gallery, I tried to avoid the huge group of people crowded around a certain area. I told myself, “Oh there’s too many people. I should probably avoid that.” Good thing I did not. Today I headed off into the Max L. Gatov Gallery East to view Nick Banford’s work (https://instagram.com/nickbamf4d/). A senior at CSULB, art has always been his desire major. Out of all the galleries I visited that day, his was my favorite. I was enchanted by the size, the color, and the uniqueness of each pieces “character-like” appeal. In all honesty, they looked like artwork that would come to life in the middle of some horror game I’ve played.
They were works without a name. Bamford had not felt the need to name his pieces, but if he were asked to name a piece he would simply refer to them with an obvious title such as Guitar Guy, Jumping Figure, and so on. Most of his artwork were made with random art pieces he would find while dumpster diving. With those new items he would use cement, stabilized clay, and plaster to mold and hold the objects together. The materials created both a mix of smooth and mainly rugged texture that helped add to the abstractness of the pieces. These things were huge, on top of that the dull grey color given made them look somewhat terrifying.
When asked what his work was about he stated that “Each individual was created for the purpose or gestures that are open to interpretation” and that is one of the reasons why some things were left uncovered. For me the holes in the giant hand and one of the other figures almost made it look like it was incomplete or deteriorating like a corpse. He is a man inspired by the challenge of creating things with new material. There was no model – just ideas as he was focusing on gestural approach. That is the idea that he focused on: What new material can I use now to show these few gestures that would be open to multiple interpretations. At one point I noticed a few wires in the back of the head of one of the pieces. I honestly thought they all had that and would light up or do something amazing. When I asked him though he said they were just there for interpretation; I got really excited for the moment!
My feelings as I stepped through that door had me in complete awe. I was grinning from cheek to cheek because I was amazed. As I said earlier the first thought that came into my head was the whole idea of the pieces coming to life – like in a certain horror game I’ve played. The pieces had also reminded me of certain characters from a show I had used to watch. In my mind I interpreted these things as not only huge, but terrifying to the core. Each had a different facial expression but none of them seemed exactly happy. Their expressions were either passive or fell to down right depressing and they seemed like they had their own story of life and death to tell (I say this because if they are not reaching up for the sky, then they are looking down at the ground). It gave me a sense of incompleteness – that the art itself felt they were incomplete so that is why they were sad. Nonetheless this was my own personal interpretation and I was still extremely impressed by the creativity placed into each of the individuals.