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Omer Arbel

January 31 to February 28, 2015

Design is often considered commercial, functional, mass-produced—and employed as a means to an end.

Monte Clark Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition by Omer Arbel.

Throughout his ten-year practice, Arbel has produced numerous experiments that push materials beyond their conceived limits. In each case, invented fabrication techniques are structured to emphasize and challenge specific attributes of a material and to respond to the ‘gestalt’ of the produced artifact. Some of these experiments yield what can be called, in the context of Arbel’s design background, mistakes. Put in another way, they are curious and beautiful objects void of any commercial use. The great majority of Arbel’s material experiments are archived, and to date have existed in an uncomfortable limbo; they are not feasible as design objects and yet are too compelling to ignore. Recognizing in two such artifacts a synesthetic quality, this exhibition removes and changes the object intention and brings both into the realm of artwork.

The titles of Arbel’s works reflect the chronological order in which they were produced, a system that frames all objects and experiments as part of one single body of work. For this show, the works “30” and “71” have been selected for exhibition. Viewed together in the context of the gallery, any functional applications relating to the objects have been removed. “30” explores the fusion of numerous glass rods of different diameter, opacity, and hue as they are exposed to a gradient of high temperatures. “71” results from an extremely repetitive process that involves submerging bolts wrapped in wire near-countless times into a nickel-based chemical solution with a live electric current running through it.

Omer Arbel (b. 1976, Jerusalem) is based in Vancouver and Berlin. His interdisciplinary practice focuses on the intrinsic mechanical, physical, and chemical qualities of materials as fundamental departure points for making work of different scales, in various cultural – economic contexts. Arbel’s work has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Spazio Rossana Orlandi (Milan), and Mallett (London), with upcoming permanent installations at Canada House (London) and a public space in Vancouver’s downtown core.