|Copyright Times Publishing Co. Dec 13, 2001|
Large red orbs hover over blue planes. Colored lines march across a white rectangle, giving wide berth to the burnt orange square in the center. A series of silvery spirals curls out into space, end points vanishing into infinity.
These are but a few of the images that greet viewers at the Gulf Coast Museum of Art's "Outside the Box" exhibition, featuring 51 pieces derived from the MADI art movement by 11 artists.
Created in 1946 by Carmelo Arden Quin in Buenos Aires, MADI espouses the use of geometric forms and focuses on abstract images and colors. Most of the works are constructed from lightweight materials, such as Plexiglas, mirrors and sheets of metal. The works take on aspects of transformation, movement and time, and are often multidimensional.
The MADI movement is energetic, yet enigmatic. Even the name remains a mystery, for MADI has no set meaning as an acronym. Some believe it stands for four major art principles: movement, abstraction, dimension and invention. Arden Quin, perhaps inspired by the playful nature of the works, has suggested that the letters were taken at random from his own name. Others say it is an invented word, like Dada, another art movement.
The pieces show the humor of their creators. Arden Quin's Almagro, like many MADI paintings, is mounted unconventionally. The frame is cut to match the painted forms within, the lower third of the piece shifting slightly to the left. Next to it is Forme Galbee BEO, whose frame pushes out in rolling curves toward the viewer, extending into three-dimensional space. This is a great contrast to the subjects of the works themselves: simple, flat forms painted with exaggerated lines and shaded in milky yellow, white and brown.
Saverio Cecere creates a visual delight with Trans-form-cromia 43. A Plexiglas diamond, its sides slightly bowed, sits away from the wall. Color bursts forth from its middle into a second diamond made of small blue triangles. A hint of bright pink peeks out, daring the viewer to take a closer look to determine its source.
What Is MADI?, a wall-mounted piece by Florida artist Volf Roitman, looks like a giant black saucer with a multicolored rectangle placed inside the rim, slightly off center. Beneath it is a small, white CD player, chirping a harmony of notes teased from a xylophone. After a moment, a slight click, followed by a humming sound, joins the music; a small electronic motor comes to life. Steel poles extending to the sides of the rectangle move, and the shape breaks apart into four whimsical forms colored red, blue, green and yellow. The sections move one at a time, eventually yielding a brand new piece, quite different from the original.
"I have always been interested in the place of humor in the arts, and I try to make my pieces not only visually arresting but also lively," Roitman explains. "I do not take myself seriously, though I am serious about my art."[Illustration]