Gallery Walk – San Francisco
by Glen Helfand, ART ON PAPER
I appreciated Stephen Sollins’s recent works at Brian Gross Fine Art for their sense of discovering poetry in everyday sources – and the artist’s labor-intensive techniques. His detail oriented, mostly monochromatic works are derived from the pages of daily newspapers and direct mail catalogs. He mines these sources for visual structures-the graphic matrix used to present the daily television listings (a grid of one month’s worth) take on all understated visual dazzle when the text is blotted out with dollops of white correction fluid. Similarly, a camping-gear catalog, when submitted to the same kind of process, is transformed into a swirl of concentric lines from which the semblance of figures in down jackets or the shape of pup tents are vaguely visible. A new series of works, titled “Available Space” (2002-03), is concerned primarily, and poetically, with absence. After laminating pages of the real estate section of the Los Angeles Times, Sollins meticulously cut away the test with a razor, leaving only the geometric arrangement of empty classified boxes and larger display ads. The result is a delicate, irregular latticework that functions quite well on a formal level. The subtle reference to notions of inhabitable places, however, adds depth to the proceedings.