Brian Dupont and Chris Rusak both work in language, though good luck trying to read anything they make. That's because their art also deals with transformation -- using collage to deconstruct a text, or stenciling letters onto abstract 3-D wall sculptures -- and plays with language in subtle, unexpected ways.
The two artists come together with Source Material, a delightful group show at Skydive Art Space curated by Brian Piana. Piana found the artists through Twitter, and it's amazing that the two even travel in the same circles there -- at the outset, their work seems to be the opposite of each other, starting with their materials.
Dupont works in oil and aluminum, using squares and pipes of metal as a surface on which to place stenciled letters and blocks of color. Rusak works in collage on Masonite, cutting up pages from a book (Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams) and then rearranging them to form squares, diamonds and other shapes.
Their pieces also have very different aesthetics. Dupont's oil paintings are all gritty, graffiti-like pieces that have an urban quality about them. Rusak's squares, diagonals and diamond objects have a clear order and logic to them and seem refined despite their simplicity.
For all their differences, both manage to abstract language, forcing the viewer to find new ways of looking at and digesting what's already a highly familiar experience -- reading -- and making it thrillingly unfamiliar. The two are in good company.
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"Source Material: Works by Brian Dupont and Chris Rusak" is at Skydive Art Space, 2041 Norfolk St., now through June 16. For more information, call 713-551-3497 or visit the gallery's Web site.