March 13, 2009
Lost and Found
Even a bar code can rise to the level of art.
Mark Dragotta

Found-object artists bring into focus the white noise of the world, giving commonplace items a shot at more than utility. Although Dave Phelps is not the first artist to find meaning in the mass-produced, his collage technique combines the shapes and colors of the everyday into something beautiful and universal. For example, I’d never considered that a simple bar code looks a bit like a brush stroke, and it’s fascinating that such a resounding symbol of mass production can resemble something so individual, so elemental and creative. “I take things that I encounter in daily life,” Phelps explains, “and some objects will get me thinking about that object and how it relates to me and the times. I start thinking about a particular thing, and it may lead me to the idea that it has some intrinsic artness to it.”

Using bar codes, tires and food and beverage labels as fodder, he constructs visions of mass culture that are often strikingly colorful, symmetric and strangely appealing. “These pieces and parts lead me to make work that I hope reflects our contemporary world without being didactic — without expressing an obvious and flagrant message,” says Phelps. “I’m more interested in presenting an opportunity for the work to instigate a dialogue with the viewer and give them the opportunity to explore what I presented to them in order to define it for themselves.”

Phelps’s Zenith opens today at the Sandra Phillips Gallery, 744 Santa Fe Drive; for more information, call 303-573-5969 or go to www.thesandraphillipsgallery.com.