Arts & Life

‘Sticks and Stones’ but no harmed bones

Rotten wood, broken bricks and rusty metal are a typical list of materials that provide inspiration for Danté Cox’s, Cal State Long Beach junior sculpture and fine arts major, current exhibit, “Sticks and Stones.”

Cox gained interest in using found materials through visits to South Africa, which exposed her to unorthodox housing.  Motivation for Cox’s artwork not only comes from aging and dilapidated objects, but also the history that is held within the piece or structure.

Cox said the materials are the driving force of the art. Most of the wood and brick used in her work are found objects that inspire the sculptures she creates.

Her interest in unlikely objects ignites while on regular family visits to South Africa.  She often navigates through the poorer neighborhoods and takes in the houses made out of whatever materials are available to them, such as old pieces of plastic and metal.

“The homes they build are so beautiful to me,” Cox said.

History is also an important factor when picking out objects for her work.

“She is interested in objects that have memory,” said Bryan Crockett, associate sculpture professor at CSULB.

Cox finds pleasure in the fact that one can have an implication of stories behind the old objects she finds.

“[It is] knowing they have a personal history, but we don’t know what that is,” she said.

Upon entering the gallery, viewers are greeted with an archway made of wood and brick.  The structure forms itself with one-half stemming from the ground and reaching toward the other half, which is mounted on the gallery wall.

Wood and brick make up most of the gravity-defying piece. However, she incorporates other mediums and techniques in order to get the final outcome.

“There is a cross between sculpture and the foundation of drawing,” Crockett said.

Cox is sure to not plan out her work in a meticulous fashion.  She enjoys bumping into what she calls “happy accidents.”

“It is not as interesting if everything is figured out,” she said.

Currently, Cox is experimenting with foundry, which includes sand and bronze castings, as well as still life photography.  Both techniques can be seen in her exhibit.

The play on size and perception of what is being observed by the viewer is what she dabbles with in her still life photography.  She sets up miniature wooden sculptures that imitate old buildings.

“It’s reminiscent of old architecture, said Brett Comfort, gallery attendee. “It has a nostalgic American feel.”

The gallery is Cox’s first solo exhibition, but she has had experience showing her work in group galleries while living in Venice.  

“She has come so far,” said Frankie Riddell, a friend of Cox, said. “Her earlier works were incredible. These are more simplistic with more impact.”

“Sticks and Stone” can be viewed on campus at the Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery until today at 5 p.m. The galleries are open Mondays through Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m. and on Wednesdays noon to 7 p.m.

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