Upon walking into Gatov-East gallery, I was surrounded by giant sculptures made up of figures that seemed almost recognizable in face and position. The pieces were all built with the same bundle of materials- plaster, string, cotton, wire, and wood to serve as the support structure- and held no formal lines. Each piece was imperfect. You could see the underlying structure of the wood, the wire, or the layering of the plaster or mache- making the texture uneven and bumpy. Also all the pieces were neutral in color, containing only gray and white hues so that the emphasis was more on the shape of the work.
After observing the work I had numerous of questions for the artist-Nick Bamford. For introduction, Nick Bamford is a senior at California State Long Beach. His major is in ceramics, but he said that this gallery was to show his abilities of working with other material. When asked what the title was of his gallery he said there was none, it was more collectively to just convey a “gestural approach”. He even smirked and said “I guess I should have titled it huh? I guess now I know for future reference”. In truth it was kind of frustrating to interview Nick because he was so short answered. I was very curious to know if each piece represented or was inspired by someone or something, but his response was a simple no. He said that the gallery was again just his test to see if he could creatively use material that he hasn’t used before. So that is when I followed by asking what his intentions were for the middle piece in the gallery, which was an abstract structure of various limbs. It had caught my eye because it was so different from the rest of the gallery, it was neither a single person or limb, but just a crazy piece that seemed uninterpretable and thus forming the question to Nick, “What was the meaning behind this piece?”. Nick responded by saying that that piece was in fact his final piece and was an experiment. Towards the end of his month long creation to this gallery, he decided to stray away from the conformed figures and mix them all together in one last work of art. In conclusion I do believe I went too in depth when I initially viewed this gallery. Because of so, I had set way too high of hopes to retrieve some answers from the artist. In my mind, the entire collection of figures were all holding this theme that they were unfinished, but finished. And in response to that, they held this aura that all the figures were sad or distraught, seen through a majority of the expressions in the piece. So I guess in that part, I commend Nick Bamford for being able to portray that emotion through the gestures of each piece ( if those were his intentions). And although the artist didn’t really disclose that much personal information about the process of creating this gallery, I do believe that they hold some underlying meaning or event in his life that came to be the inspiration for each figure. Through this theory, I think that is what made this gallery alluring because it was open to interpretation. For the audience, they were able to see each piece and maybe reflect back to a time when they performed each gesture, especially with the one of the child sitting on the floor in the corner. Overall, despite my questions left broadly answered, I enjoyed the analytic process of observing Nick Bamford’s work and thought process. Maybe that was his game plan all along, to keep his audience wondering.
To follow up with Nick Bamford’s work you can find him on Instagram- @NickBam4