Billow talk

Jul 6, 2005 at 12:00 am

For a complete reversal of aesthetic programs from the architecture and design exhibition downstairs, check out the outrageous “Cloud” by artist Inigo Manglano-Ovalle in the museum’s main gallery. As a technological marvel and as a portentous, protean image yielding almost uncontrollable, metaphorical readings, Manglano-Ovalle has upped the ante on contemporary art. The large sculpture is a scale model of an actual cloud, replicated precisely, giving new meaning to the term “representation.”

Manglano-Ovalle sculpted the piece with the computer-controlled scanning and milling processes that morph the shapes of contemporary automobiles. Composed of Fiberglas resin (like many car fenders) and coated with titanium leafing, it is constructed in modules with apparent grid lines, adding significantly to how we read the sculpture.

“Cloud” looks like a foreboding blob, modern in its formlessness, and yet, with its silvered patina, somehow classical. It could be an ominous sign of a nuclear explosion or a strangely detached ear auditing us, or one could find equally auspicious readings of it.

Manglano-Ovalle wants us to feel a sense of human intervention with this banal effort to make or transcend nature. Between the green design downstairs and Manglano-Ovalle’s replication of nature, there’s more to this difference than meets the eye.

Glen Mannisto writes about art for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]