Essential Elements: and other mysteries of the universe: Spencer Pittenger & Phyllis Lasché

February 18 – March 19, 2016
FIRST FRIDAY RECEPTION:   March 4th from 6-9 pm

The processes of material transformation inform the works of Phyllis Lasché and Spencer Pittenger in Essential Elements and other mysteries of the universe, on view at the GearBox from February 18th through March 19th.

Spencer Pittenger’s sculptural pieces combine blown glass and various intriguing chemicals in a body of work that evokes ideas related to scientific nostalgia, alchemy, and material transformation through elemental processes such as radioactive decay.

Reflecting on the body of work he produced for Essential Elements, Spencer Pittenger says, “There is something beautiful and romantic about a sailor navigating vast uncharted oceans with simple devices, or a scientist discovering some unknown truth through calculation and experimentation. These pursuits have shaped and defined our modern world. Just as antique mechanical instruments ultimately developed into sophisticated electronics, the practice of alchemy possessed the seeds for the development of chemistry and modern science. The impossible goal of alchemists was to transform base metals into precious ones, a concept as fascinating as it is mysterious. This process of transmutation occurs inside stars and supernovae, and as a result of radioactive decay. It is now known to be the origin of all matter, but it was once thought that the light radiating from the sun, moon and planets created and ripened the metal ore beneath the surface of the earth.”

While Pittenger’s work examines the transformative properties of radioactive decay, Phyllis Lasché’s work centers on observations about other types of material transformation. In her work the natural processes of deterioration and change act as evidence that life has asserted itself. In the series on view, empty spaces represent the agents of change and the resultant detritus left behind. The clues to understanding the transformations lie in the negative spaces of the work. Referencing the mysteries of nature at play, Lasché’s paintings echo Japanese aesthetics in their flattened spaces, retained imperfections, and sense of impermanence.

Spencer Pittenger was born in Saratoga Springs, NY. After working as a glassblowing apprentice, Spencer entered the School of Art and Design at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. He graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Art and a minor in Political Science. Spencer has also taken classes at Pilchuck Glass School and the Corning Museum of Glass. He lives and works in Oakland, CA with his wife Gina Zetts.

Subsequent to enjoying a career as an Intensive Care Clinical Specialist with a Master’s Degree in Cardiovascular Nursing, Phyllis Lasché graduated from Mills College with a Bachelor Degree in Studio Art in 2000. Today, she maintains a remote studio in the hills above Livermore. 

Also on view in the Inner Room Entropy Corralled, an installation by Darrell Hunger and works by member artists

And just upstairs at Transmission, Liivia Stein: New Work through March 19th.

The GearBox is open Thursdays and Fridays from 12 to 6 pm and Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm. GearBox Gallery is also open 6-9 pm the First Friday of every month as part of the Oakland Art Murmur Art Walk.