It’s rare to see a show of extra large artworks outside of museums or institutional galleries, so I was surprised to get an announcement for “Monumental,” an exhibition of oversized works by 17 artists at JayJay, a private gallery in East Sacramento.
Roger Berry’s 8 by 12 by 4 feet “Unfurl,” a stainless steel sculpture of continuous looping coils unwinding that would grace any public art project, is the centerpiece of the show – and the inspiration for it.
Works like “Unfurl” offer viewers the the experience of being confronted with works larger than themselves so that one’s entire body becomes engaged and the work becomes an environment for interaction.
Berry’s elegant, playful sculpture provokes a kind of body empathy as you move around it, following its dips and curves in a kind of visual dance. It also interacts with works on the walls around it.
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From one angle, its backdrop is Robin Hill’s “Snowflake No. 2,” a 106 by 94 inch Cyanotype of a huge, ghostly white snowflake on a deep blue, almost black, ground. It’s a work that dwarfs you as you move in front of it.
Similarly, Mark Emerson’s “Elvas Excursion,” an 84 by 108 inch polymer painting next to Hill’s print, envelopes you in a jazzy field of diagonals that buzz with strong color as they dance across an unframed canvas hung on the wall like a tapestry bound by a thin border of raw canvas.
From another angle, Koo Kyung Sook’s “Markings,” a mural-sized mixed-media work whose dark background is broken by rhythmic extrusions of white and gray-green handmade paper that lend the piece a three-dimensional effect.
As you turn away from it, you are startled by Robert Ortbal’s “Crystalline Jester,” an explosion of cardboard boxes, coated with resin, paint and velvety red flock, that hangs over your head.
Beyond it, you see Trent Burkett’s “Tilt,” a large, elegantly crude openwork scrim made of marble and wood – both raw and painted, found and constructed – that suggests to me part of a set for “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” Jean Girardoux’s comic play about an eccentric Parisian woman’s struggles against corrupt authority figures.
Elegant, too, but much more refined, is Kevin Keul’s “Evaporating Salt Ponds,” a grid of nine white panels that open as they ascend to reveal bubbles of beige and gray forms that suggest organic and mineral deposits.
It contrasts with Ian Harvey’s “No. 164,” a quirky, mixed-media, narrative abstraction on mulberry paper that calls up a magical landscape, and Rick Siggins’ “Untitled,” a gigantic scalloped circle made up of thin stripes of thick paint in intense colors that form a kind of geodesic pattern.
Calmer in feeling is Joan Moment’s “Galaxy XII,” a vast expanse of blue spattered with stars and gaseous stellar nebulae on a celestial blue piece of the cosmos that, Moment states, is an imaginary interpretation of an infinitesimal portion of the universe, created by pouring many layers of thin acrylic paint that collect and dry into unexpected configurations.
The show is rounded out by Michael Stevens’ “Leo’s Confession,” a wall piece in the form of a wood sculpture of a boy with a ventriloquist’s dummy’s head, surrounded by cutouts of children’s heads on kitschy prints of landscapes, sentimental Dutch genre scenes and a hack painter’s version of “The Last Supper.”
The show continues in a smaller space across the parking lot that used to be JayJay’s main gallery.
Despite the gallery’s size and configuration, the works do not feel crowded and there are many to admire.
Peter Wayne Lewis’ “Ripples in Time,” a springlike acrylic abstraction with organic forms that suggest clusters of blossoms against a wavering, bright-yellow lattice, stands out as does Mark Eanes’ “P.S.” and “Forget Me Not,” joined mixed-media works on panels that form a kind of stream-of-consciousness visual journal.
I also liked Michaele LeCompte’s “Troubled Waters,” a strong mixed-media work that sports boldly colored geometric shapes, subtle abstracted camellia-like forms reminiscent of Japanese art and glittering rhinestone jewelry perched on shallow ledges, and Anne Gregory’s “Birds of the World,” an evocative mixed-media work of colorful avians in a lush landscape.'Monumental'Where: JayJay, 5524B Elvas Ave. When: Through April 28. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Free.Information: 916-453-2999.