What does it mean when an artist renowned for his aerial sculptures comes back to earth? Painter and sculptor Adria Arch is best known for her plunging and dancing forms made from foam board and suspended from the ceiling. Vivid tones with patterns and gestures add to their buoyancy.
In the Arlington artist’s new exhibition at Storefront Art Projects, human-sized sculptures sit squarely on the floor. Arch paintings on canvas and aluminum are more familiarly hung on the walls. The paintings, on canvas and aluminum, weigh more than the foam cardboard sculptures.
All feature paint, of course, as well as Arch’s lively repertoire of stenciled shapes with holes opening up to other worlds, flat colors and clean geometries contrasting with juicy smear accents and breaths. speckled aerosol. Arch is exuberant in line and palette. The “Stretch” board revolves around a lush, subdued blue splash, which could be a gymnast at the edge of the wheel, against a yellow and purple background. His paintings have the warm glow of a Hilma af Klint and the turn of a Kandinsky, without his edgy energy.
The “Visitor” sculptures are Arch’s most architectonic to date: shapes with four walls stacked on top of each other. Each wall has holes to look through, giving him eight surfaces to paint on and an interiority that his work previously lacked. It is as if the shapes of the paintings have become even more three-dimensional than they are in the air. Maybe gravity does that.
The “Visitor 2”, layered like a layered cake, has holes, scalloped edges and a crown like a corkscrew handle. The painted gestures and the cut out shapes draw the gaze inwards, outwards, around and upwards. The piece has regal stature and pictorial drops, and it beckons like playground equipment. “Totem 2” juts out like an amoeba on the way to a party, filled with holes and cut squiggles. Here, the Arc walls meet in the center and open outwards, forming four butterfly wings.
Arch said she sees herself as an abstract artist, but it’s hard not to view the new floor sculptures, with their verticality and suggestion of heads, as figurative. Maybe they kept him company during the pandemic. They certainly have a presence.
ADRIA ARCH: THE VISITORS
At Storefront Art Projects, 83 Spring St., Watertown, until January 8. www.storefrontartprojects.com