INDRIKIS GELZIS – 'NIGHTBALL EFFECT'

September 14 – October 21, 2018


Lengths of steel form shadow boxes, then populate them with ribs and joists, some minimally upholstered in
polyethylene sleeves, with cast-offs for fiberboard carpentry wedged among the bars. These structures begin as
free-hand drawings in CINEMA 4D, an application typically used for motion graphics and modeling. They are then
transcribed to notebook paper in graphite—mechanical drawings to aid in their construction. The clean lines and
unlikely junctures suggest the computer with which they were conceived, but belie the hands that gave them form.
There is still touch here: on the steel, welded, treated with oils, burned to a jet-black patina; on the polyethylene
tubes, painstakingly stitched, tousled just so; on the furniture plates, with false wood-grain melamine applied to
every surface.

The works in this show, Latvian artist Indrikis Gelzis’ first solo exhibition in the United States, are small, dense, and
shallow, hung from the wall. The palette for each is limited to stark silvers, blacks, and whites. Their uniform size
and coloration create the sense of décor, that which shores up setting and scenery on the sly, not necessarily
announcing itself.

Within each frame, one is tempted to find headless figures, all limbs and spines, cuddling or copulating, at work and
play, in prayer, airborne, fixing a leak in the sink. They elbow for room in the composition, on the bed, at the table, in
the doorway.  Their backs curl, constrained by the warped picture planes of their enclosures. These frames are
gentle traps, the bait and barbs working on their object with alternating care and force. There is the sense of being
held for examination (as the mouse is given maze) or for correction (as the mouth in the midst of orthodontic
apparatus).

There is a moment after the trap has sprung and before we realize we are caught. In this stillness, an image
accumulates. Gelzis’ figures are eerily archaeological, suggesting the bodies of lovers found in bed under many
layers of ash and earth. As a condition of their capture, they are frozen in time.

                                                                                             — Maxwell Paparella