Lucky DeBellevue’s whimsical constructions of non-precious materials
In a dense installation, Lucky DeBellevue surprises by adding a series of paintings to accompany his signature pipe cleaner sculptures. With a wonderful sense of color, DeBellevue creates whimsical constructions made of non-precious materials that move between the celebratory and the introspective. Using craft techniques, the works can have a childlike and naïve quality.
This exhibition incorporates elements that counteract the fantasy. The inclusion of a walker, a cane, and bath bench acknowledges the inevitability of the future, adding illness, aging, and deformity to the mix.
The sculpture” Untitled,” 2005, is a chrome walker wrapped on one side with a chenille web and topped by a vintage hood ornament—a hot rod for the infirm. The upright and life-sized “Untitled,” 2006 is stooped and leans on a cane. The figure’s front is covered with a contrasting colored circulatory system. Rising from densely woven feet, the impression is strength not weakness—in spite of the cane.
A shower stool for the infirm acts as a base for “Untitled,” 2005, atop rests an enchanted mountain kingdom. Eight chenille peaks in vivid colors rest in conflict with the sobering base. While the merger of these man-made elements is an interesting idea they never fully merge, lacking integration.
More successful is the sculpture “Untitled,” 2005. Freestanding and low, it has the presence of a three-legged pet. The intricate and complex handicraft moves from dark and dense upward toward airy colorful dissolution.
Other sculptures made of screen like triangular panels seem to reference Native American spirit catchers that intersect and overlap. “Untitled,” 2005, has three large panels woven from sparkling tinsel yet penetrated by open dripping holes. The result is a charged, subtle, and provocative piece.
The paintings, a series of atmospheric landscapes with brushy unfinished grounds, are inhabited using pipe cleaner imprints. “Untitled,” 2006 contains a linear figure hunched and stooped, yet basking in the surrounding glow. Another painting “Untitled” 2006, is more geometric with a central nautilus like structure. A third painting is a slashing of vertical lines like atmospheric rain. The paintings visible through the airy sculptures are robbed of some of their strength by the close proximity to the many sculptures; both suffer as a result.
This exhibition shows an artist looking unflinchingly to the future. The inclusion of different ideas and the lack of central focus, however, sacrifice the power of the individual pieces in this exhibition to an overwhelming effect.