Los Angeles-based Nicholas Shake works with the detritus found on the outskirts of his hometown of Palmdale as both a medium and source of inspiration for his first solo exhibition, “Significance Swells.” The anchor of the exhibition is Shake’s photography, which actually serves as a means to document the ephemeral installations the artist constructed from found trash. Shot with long exposures, and always as dusk, Shake transforms the haphazard piles of rusting metals, loose tires, and other discarded objects he finds into mysterious and evocative structures, somehow inviting the viewer to contemplate them as sites of beauty, rather than discarded debris.
In addition to the series of photographs, sculpture constructed from mundane materials displays a cool, Duchampian sensibility. Objects including concrete blocks, shopping carts, palm fronds, and casts made from tire tracks in the desert sand formed by dipping them in “friendly plastic” are then woven into the works with hand-dyed thread. These are in turn countered by the seemingly spontaneous approach of the artist’s mural sized paintings, which, with forceful brushwork and staccato markings, serve as yet another record of the artist’s activity.
Originally published in ArtScene and Visualartsource.com (June 2013)