The title, One Another One, is actually quite apropos for this exhibition. In his statement, Chris Beards explains;
“One is special—singular, unique, worthy of attention. . .
Another splits the attention by half, yet reaffirms the singular nature of One.
If Another One is added to One the result is Another One.
New connections and relationships are discovered in this process.”
Standing in the gallery space with Beards’ recent, mostly wall-mounted constructions, it all makes sense. As a body of work, the ten pieces communicate in a language of visual abstraction. Patterns and the repetition of forms and texture are pleasingly punctuated by well-placed disruptions. However, upon closer observation some pieces possess a narrative element, with layers of meaning, and subtle humor. I think of poetry where the cadence of syllables is equal in value to the meaning of words.
Visual references to fiber and textiles stand out for me—in the surface treatment, textures, and construction methods. This is especially noted in Horizon Line, which is made of eight vertical slats of wood with an overall burned-in pattern. The slats are separated by rhythmically spaced bubble levels, acting very much like the weft threads woven through the warp of the slats. Slight variations in shapes and placement impart interest and surprise. Additionally, the inner areas of the slats are painted a muted red, balancing well against the charcoal wood and yellow levels.
Beards’ interest in repurposed manufactured objects shows up in much of his work and is especially evident in Archive. The piece hangs from the ceiling—an organic, nest-like shape made of woven zip-ties is suspended from altered and fabricated metal hardware. A bulging bulk of woven black zip-ties is encased in white ones, giving a metallic look of chain link fencing. The balance of soft and hard materials is coaxed together with a limited color palate of black, white, silver and a touch of coral-pink.
Other pieces in the exhibition express more narrative elements and nuanced commentary. For example, Hell is encased in a rectangular frame with flame or bat-wing-like shapes. This shape is repeated in row upon row of individually singed ADMIT ONE tickets, the layered rows create the feel of a tapestry. One wonders if the hell part was when the artist was scorching all those tickets.
Influence is a particularly thought-provoking piece. Constructed from wooden crib sides, the piece is presented as an abstract shape of shiny black horizontal and vertical lines, set off by one well-placed curvy member. All of the components are tightly wrapped in video tape featuring such hits as The Little Mermaid, A Clockwork Orange, Sleeping Beauty, The Matrix, and The Piano. However, the continuous black swaddling doesn’t reveal a single story line. A sprinkling of reflective dots, like fairy dust, completes the notion of hidden, though potent influences on children.
The work demonstrates Beard’s elegant awareness of materials and quality of construction, where everything is neatly held together, and each component is an integral part of the whole. While the pieces here focuse on Beards’ more flat, geometric work, he also applies many of these same qualities to three-dimensional biomorphic-mechanical forms with obscure purposes.
For Beards “Structure, context, and meaning are created and explored through experiments with organized patterns and repetition in a variety of media.” The body of work is coherently held together by the consistency and complexity of pattern and repetition, along with doses of lighthearted as well as poignant messages.