PODS

Gisela Colon's avatar Gisela Colon

Sculptor Gisela Colon brings biomorphic and chromatic enrichment to an underlying Minimalist rigor. Taking a cue from Donald Judd’s notion of “specific objects”—sculptures that are definite and fixed in form, representing nothing beyond themselves—Colon has dubbed her own works “non-specific objects” to highlight their deliberate fluid indeterminacy. The opalescent, blow-molded acrylic Glo-Pods have a long formal lineage that begins with East Coast Minimalists like Judd, Carl Andre, and Robert Morris. Colon, however, enriches and transforms the structural austerity of these highly cerebral artists. To do so, she employs the perceptual lessons of figures like Dan Flavin, James Turrell, and Robert Irwin, along with cues from the experiments in shape, color, and surface carried out, in distinctly contemporary material, by a host of artists primarily associated with the West Coast: Craig Kauffman, Helen Pashgian, Larry Bell, Peter Alexander, Ronald Davis, Judy Chicago, DeWain Valentine, Mary Corse, John McCracken, Tony Delap, and others. “Light is the ultimate material,” Colon has written. Her works clearly have precursors in Op Art, Latin American geometric abstraction, Minimalism, Light and Space, and Finish Fetish. But nothing quite prepares viewers for their distinctive, semi-magical effects. Entering a gallery, one is surrounded by wall-hung biomorphic forms in multiple glowing hues that seem to transmute, interacting in new and unpredictable ways, with every variation in the room’s illumination and every shift of the viewer’s perspective. Forms within the forms also seem to move and alter. Shaped like amoebae and radiating like gems, the works evoke life both at its most primordial level and, simultaneously, at its most technically advanced and aesthetically refined. The way viewer’s interact with the Glo-Pods—by moving around and among them, by drawing closer and stepping back, by observing the differences wrought by variations in sunlight or levels of artificial lighting—is essential to the artist’s aims and the work’s meaning. Colon is principally concerned, she has said, with “non-linearity, shape-shifting, fluidity, liquidity, temporality, motion”—everything that is contrary to “stasis.” And, indeed, in examining her work one encounters no acute angles, no flat contours, no rough surfaces. The constructivist aspects of Modernism—straight vectors, the grid, uniform modules—are here superseded. Sinuousness, brightness, protozoan shapes, mystery, and opulence prevail. Once engaged with the Glo-Pods, the eye and the mind never rest. Everything is flow and change. This is perhaps not surprising, given the ceaseless momentum of Colon’s own life and thinking, but it has broader implications as well. The artist characterizes her work as “a means of achieving sensory awareness.” The sculptures induce a retinal restlessness and a quick mental processing that echo contemporary social (and social media) reality, our constant need to stay in touch, to gather information, to react. But at the deepest level, Colon’s artworks use light and visual perception as metaphors for the phenomenological challenges faced by the individual mind in the world—making sense and beauty out of the ambiguity, indeterminacy, and flux of our daily existence.-- Richard Vine, New York City, 2016

Entry Details
  • Art form: 3-D
  • Depth: 13 inches
  • Medium: Blow-molded acrylic
  • Width: 42 inches
  • Year created: 2016
  • Height: 90 inches