Cheryl Coon, detail of "Symbiosis" installation, black sculptures made from zip ties

Cabrillo Gallery


March 11 - April 12, 2024

Materiality: Cheryl Coon • Benjamin Hunt • Robert Ortbal

The three artists in this exhibition all use unusual materials, or work with materials in unusual ways. They all use the specific materiality of their work to convey their ideas, each in very different ways, but all with equally striking visual languages.

Cheryl Coon’s sculptural forms suggest spinal structures or microscopic organisms, such as protozoa, plankton or spores. Her abstractions of biological forms, surprisingly created with the very unnatural material of plastic zip ties, play off of our attraction/repulsion to the extreme beauty of such organisms.

Benjamin Hunt replicates familiar everyday objects—such as furniture, framed photographs and other utilitarian forms—out of salvaged acrylic. The translucent material transforms them into surreal, ghostly apparitions of the original objects, ephemeral, glowing markers of time and memory.

Robert Ortbal combines a vast array of both common and odd materials, applying them in endless variations to conjure up a related system of small-scale, uniquely masked figures, traveling-case environments that house them, and full-size masks that are, at times, worn outside the gallery environment in performative actions in public.

Together these artists present an intriguing sampling of alternatives to the use of more traditional materials in the making of art, inviting us to ponder what other possibilities might be explored in the realm of materiality.

images: above, Cheryl Coon: Installation, zip ties

below, Robert Ortbal, Samaritian Case No.2, mixed media, Benjamin Hunt, Credenza, salvaged acrylic

Robert Ortbal, Samaritian Case No.2, mixed media
Benjamin Hunt, Credenza, salvaged acrylic