In 1988 researchers at the University of New Mexico found that volunteers injected with high doses of the psychoactive substance reported experiences identical to alleged alien abductions. Others claimed to experience "profound time-dilation, time travel, journeys to paranormal realms, and encounters with spiritual beings." Based on Shaw's spacey sculptures, a bookie would give fair odds he might be a fellow traveler.
Shaw's challenging work reads like a train wreck between technology and nature, and alludes to a botched laboratory experiment or the radioactive echoes of a nuclear meltdown.
David Shaw's Root, 2004
Through November 5. Kevin Bruk Gallery, 2249 NW First Pl, Miami; 305-576-2000.
Dimitree metaphorically mainlines Shaw's desire to break open the spectator's head and tune out preconceived information clogging perception. It portrays a phalanx of interlocking pentagons coated in holographic laminate, branching out from a pair of tree stumps whose sawed-off ends are also covered with the ethereal coating. From one of the five-sided polygons, a solitary mutant-glass teardrop appears to be on the verge of anointing the floor.
Shaw cleverly uses the holographic laminate, a two-dimensional material, to convey three-dimensional effects. His icy, prismatic surfaces refract light like sunshine-dappled snowflakes and emit a radiant, hallucinatory sheen.
Another tasty holographic piece, Knot, 2004, features the skeletal frame of a dishwashing machine-size cube. Sinewy steel tendrils, painted in a spectrum of toxic Day-Glo colors, snake up some of its sides, mimicking the cartography of knots and growth-pattern lines present in saw-milled planks of lumber. A turgid tree branch, the girth of one of Mary-Kate Olsen's rickety stems, juts out from one end like the prow of an alien-interdicting Coast Guard cutter.
Shaw's stellar show-stealer, Root, 2004, has the uncanny vibe of a force of nature and seems crafted more by a hurricane than an artist. It's reminiscent of a tangle of debris spawned by Katrina. This hair-raising phenomenon has the feel of a throwback rooftop TV antenna skewering a pile of mangled wood chunks and tree limbs. Unfortunately the eye-popping piece was knocked out of commission when a conga-line of tornadoes whistled through Wynwood. Don't worry about jonesing. Shaw has managed a more mind-altering legerdemain to replace it.
From ringside this boffo bangup convinces that the perennially black-clad Bruk has sewn up bragging rights on his patch of the hood and that his boys are worthy contenders poised to take the belt. Expect some big Basel pimping from the KBG crew in the Art Nova pit come December.