September 12, 2013
Lightspeed: Trygve Faste at Ruth Bachofner Gallery
NY ARTS, 09/12/2013
Beth Russell

Lightspeed: Trygve Faste at Ruth Bachofner Gallery
NY ARTS, 09/12/2013
Beth Russell

Contemporary design compresses the problems of quantum physics into domestic space. In Lightspeed, a show opened September 7th at the Ruth Bachofner Gallery in Santa Monica, California, Oregon artist Trygve Faste explores the kinetic architecture of such transformations. His work experiments with the way lines organize space dimensionally, how angles catch and refract light, and the way color is dispersed across conjoining planes. Faste suggests that within the context of consumer culture, image and form combine to seduce and manipulate perception, pushing culture past the limits of terminal velocity.

Faste refers to the pieces in the show as “protoforms,” a term which relates both to the experimental nature of making prototypes and also to the idea that while the shaped canvases on which he works have more dimension than a typical painting, they exist in the realm of planar-image and illusion, never actually achieving the fully-dimensional existence of free-standing sculpture. The fact that they appear to be about to do so is the source of their kinetic appeal. While Faste’s protoforms reference the tradition of “picture-as-object” pioneered by Frank Stella, the figures move beyond static representation into the realm of what is known commercially as kinetic styling—capturing the implied velocity of an object-in-motion and delivering the impression of energy caught in the act of conversion into material form.

Faste’s work has its genesis in image research; his work references contemporary trends in industrial and product design. Through careful study of contemporary culture, the artist has gathered a lexicon of repeated shapes and patterns related to the architectural, technological, and psychological trends his work explores. Faste’s multi-planar canvases are bent into three-dimensional representations of these forms, then gessoed and smoothed so that all canvas seams are concealed. Next, some sections of the canvas are masked, while others are air brushed with slick acrylic hues and shades, creating an illusion of depth reiterated by the play of color across conjoined planes.

When finished, each of the pieces is given a title that references the specific colors that comprise its surface gloss. One of the most interesting aspects of the figures is the implied prism outside the frame. The figures explore the ways lines emerging from specific but unrepresented points of origin in dimensionally organized space, and the way the angles these lines create catch and refract light. The relationship between color and form in each piece is both kinetic and dynamic. The effect Faste achieves is that of observing light in the process of being bent, as if he were able to capture the moment immediately preceding the transformation of light energy into perceivable matter.

Stills of Faste’s creative process can be viewed at trygvefaste.com. They reveal that while it is easy to interpret Faste’s work as “futuristic,” to do so may be naive. While his process is technologically sophisticated, the media the artist incorporates in his finished figures (wood, canvas, paint,) are relatively primitive. Seen from this angle, Lightspeed is a visual reiteration of the first (ancient) law of the conservation of energy. Faste’s work suggests that everything we consume originates as particle and wave. It suggests that matter is merely energy manipulated, through the process of design, into material forms intended first to stimulate, and then to satisfy desire.

Associated Artist

Associated Exhibitions

Associated News

  • November 25, 2013

  • September 12, 2013

News Archive


March 27, 2019
March 16, 2019
January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

September 12, 2014
February 15, 2014
January 31, 2014
September 12, 2013
December 18, 2012
September 26, 2012
May 31, 2012
September 21, 2011