However those involved happened to arrive at titling Art Academy of Cincinnati’s current exhibition Generosity, truly all meanings apply to what has been presented. A bounty of sculptural works by Nopchai “Toi” Ungkavantanapong create what is without a doubt the most striking use of the Pearlman Gallery space I have ever seen.
The predominately plaster and wood objects are elegant and poised like Giacometti’s early plaster works but more readily call to mind various flirtations between aesthetics and functionality in master sculptors like Robert Gober, Robert Morris and Franz West.
Smooth, distressed white forms (simple cylinders, “logs,” or bowls for example) have been added to wooden hardware that seems worn with use. These different tool-like sculptures have been considerately displayed in pristine lines hung on walls, displayed like artifacts on shelves and lyrically scattered across the floor in a composition of waltzy white dashes and forms.
The humility and grace of the sculptures has been set against intense red accent walls. This red is an oddity, hard to place confidently in a single culture. I believe it functions in the installation not only as a vivid backdrop for the work but also as an invocation of socially minded communities. Distilled and placed behind objects that evoke workmanship and labor, the reference is more poetic than political.
Generosity runs daily through Nov. 14. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.