Tension Rising - Spear's Magazine

Tension Rising

To Olyvia Fine Art for Sold Out, for some serious face-time with one of my favourites, Robert Rauschenberg.

To Olyvia Fine Art on Ryder Street last night for Sold Out, their Pop Art show. I was there early and the gallery wasn't quite popping yet, but that gave more room for contemplating the art. This allowed me some serious face-time with one of my favourites, Robert Rauschenberg.

The wonder of Rauschenberg is in his creativity and seeming obliquity. His combines gather together any and all kinds of items – newspaper, found pictures, material, tyres, a bed, an eagle – into a novel form of image, neither collage nor painting (tho' made on a canvas), fighting against both.

The tension is within the images too. Last night featured the picture to the left, where a fabric medallion (thanks, Emily!) dangles below the canvas from a pink piece of ribbon, which is twisted but can't move because it's pressed behind glass. All you want to do is unwind it. You get a glimpse of the other side from the mirror, but that's there to tantalise, not to soothe.

In a second image, a picture of a bull sits opposite news stories about a pardon given by Ronald Reagan, but you can only tell this by careful looking as the article is upside-down and backwards. Piles of powder sit on a salt flat and a bat-picture is suspended in the centre. These items talk to one another, drawing off each other's content and connotations, items which Rauschenberg has assembled to make a cross between a cryptic crossword clue and a magic-eye puzzle.

Rauschenberg's works are alive and straining at every boundary. Go see.