Art Review

Art Review: Sabin Aell's Buoyant Work, Along With Others, at Walker Fine Art

For the unusual solo Sabin Aell: The Buoyancy of Nothing, the artist has created a series of related wall pieces in the front spaces at Walker Fine Art; she calls them “wall designs,” and they function together as a single, coherent installation.

The interrelated designs take up all of the available wall space, even the narrow slots between the doors and windows. They include organic shapes in the form of resin blobs encasing layers of torn, non-objective photos. These resin components are subtly three-dimensional, coming off the wall a few inches. The resin-encased photos have been hung within geometric compositions that are applied directly against the wall and have been done in a simple palette of blue, gray and black. The resin elements have an expressionist, organic quality, while the flat designs are constructivist, creating a tension between the two approaches. A good example is “The Buoyancy of Nothing: 1.1-1.5” (pictured), but all of the pieces are very closely related.

When I look at the material, I see references to water. But this thought may have been triggered by the use of the word “buoyancy” in the title, combined with Aell’s taste for various shades of dreamy blues. Or maybe it’s in the way the resin obscures — and yet reveals — the photos in the same way a puddle of water would.

Aell’s works aren’t just visually abstract; they also have abstract content, as revealed by the artist’s statement, which is more poetic than explanatory. Aell writes that the pieces are intended to be a “gateway to adventure, excitement and pleasure,” exposing the viewer to “the beauty and wisdom of uncertainty.”

Walker almost always installs a solo or duet in the front and a trio in the back. In the past, the offering up front has been distinctly different from what is featured in the back. Lately, however, director Bobbi Walker has been presenting shows in the back that complement the one up front, and that’s what she’s done this time, to great effect.

In the back space are three small shows: Angela Beloian, which includes recent drawings in ink, colored pencil, and embroidery; Udo Nöger, made up of signature works from that artist’s “Light as Material” series of white-on-white abstracts; and Liz Quan, an installation of internally lit suspension pieces made of bisque-fired porcelain that are out of this world.

The Buoyancy of Nothing and its associated shows run through June 20 at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, #A. Call 303-355-8955 or go to for more information.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia