David Scanavino presents a new body of work that includes sculptures and wall works which place the viewer in direct physical and psychological relationship to the institutional structures they pass through every day. Since visiting his alma mater, Columbine High School, after the shooting in the summer of 1999, Scanavino’s practice has routinely revisited institutional references such as linoleum tiles, clocks, school desks, chalkboards and certain banal color combinations. Interested in their lack of neutrality, his work reinterprets their formal elements to hint at something more symptomatic of public spaces.
The floor of the gallery is partially taken over by untitled (Guillotine), a 8 x 12 foot oval of colorful linoleum tile in which the image of a life-size guillotine emerges and recedes. Visitors are encouraged to walk upon its surface. Additionally, the gallery walls are painted a mint green to evoke environments such as kindergarten classrooms, hospitals, and courthouses, setting the context in which to view the works in the show. Another work, untitled (Clock) is embedded in the wall. It is an inverted and colorless clock, without hands to tell the time.
Two separate shelves hold new rope cast sculptures. The first is a set of book-like, narrow blocks that are bound together by the “fossilized” mark of tightly wrapped rope. On the second, smaller sculptures that resemble pedagogical models or toys emphasize the rope as a graspable utilitarian material.
On a facing wall, three rectangles of pulped colored paper are made directly on site. They echo the colors of a typical package of construction paper. In three simple configurations, the pulp dries to the surface of the wall, retaining the pressed fingerprints from their making.
Taken together, the works position themselves between fixed and disruptive entities, implying associations with the ideologies of centralized organizations and their effects on those who inhabit them.