3/20/15 3:37 PM
One of the tasks of an artist is to take notice of a material so common that it goes unrecognized for any but its usual purpose. Krista Valdez has chosen chain-link fencing, the ubiquitous diamond-shaped metal grid that is the cheap solution to property and security issues everywhere. Having cut modest picture-sized rectangles of the stuff, Valdez proceeds to paint it with dense strokes of plaster. Blobby ones recall Lynda Benglis’s floor sculptures, crusty ones the faux-naif canvases of Jean Dubuffet. Black paint colors Valdez’s art every shade of grey from outside in; left outdoors to be finished by the elements, rust tints it yellowy-brown from the inside out. Reinventing familiar material in an artwork can result in the discovery of novelty, or it can produce revelations about the material itself. Valdez achieves a bit of both, including a surprisingly formal realization: chain-link fencing has an orientation. It is strongly vertical. Who knew?