Robert Sestok’s exhibit of paintings configured in a 3D environment, Verses, had a triumphant opening on Friday, November 2 at the CCS Center Galleries [Manoogian Visual Resource Center in the College for Creative Studies, 301 Frederick Douglass (corner of Brush Street), Detroit; 313-664-7800]. The installation surpassed even the high expectations of this blogger, and proved Sestok to be a master of multiple media, though he remains best known for his welded-steel sculptures.
The show was nearly monochromatic, with paintings and lithographic prints composed largely black-on-white, but a controlled explosion of patterns and material textures ranging from canvas to canvas created the sense of chaotic motion and many shades of gray, and in some cases actually smeared from application of white paint onto black into literal gray.
The artist was on hand, courting an admiring crowd with his trademark understated presence. He engaged readily, however, on his choice to eschew the age-old tradition of hanging paintings on walls, favoring a build-in structure that took this body of work, amassed mostly over the last two years, up to the raised rafters in a loose, maze-like structure more than 20 feet tall. It provided a perfect viewing distance for some of the larger works, portraits on canvases over 100 square feet.
Sestok was also eager to discuss his future plans, including his hopes to find funding for a sculpture garden in Detroit. This project in development illustrates Sestok’s determination to perpetuate art that engages the community. One hopes his garden will come to fruition, planting more of his sculpture work in the public eye—but if not, we may at least rest assured that he has at least one more medium by which to bring his vision into the world.