Great River Mashup is a variably-sized multi-component installation piece that was developed through my observations and imaginings of the Los Angeles River. The piece was first installed at Taylor De Cordoba gallery for my solo exhibition, Myopic Spring Tangle. The installation has no precise formation allowing it to be reconfigured in various ways for subsequent exhibition spaces. In this version for Fullerton College Art Gallery, I wanted reflections to overwhelm the visual space. Both walls and floor were covered with reflective Mylar sheeting. The result of floating fluorescent light fixtures in combination with all the hanging cutouts became a visual maelstrom of disorienting proportions. This iteration more successfully represents the chaotic nature of a ravaged Los Angeles River basin after a flood: perhaps sun streams through parted clouds, dancing off the river torrent, illuminating the tangled mess.
Original Press Release Text from Myopic Spring Tangle
As opposed to Natropʼs previous and more immersive installations, myopic spring tangle is comprised of discrete works of art interrelating as a whole. While utilizing the existing gallery architecture, the artist employs myriad techniques and uses varied materials to transform the space into a unique environment. In one area, hand-cut pieces of paper painted with watercolor hang from the ceiling in a cluster. Illuminated by small fluorescent tube fixtures with colored gel overlays. This work is “tangled” with colored thread, which travels through the gallery rafters. There are also several framed cut paper pieces, which are the most detailed and precise the artist has completed to date, due in part to powerful reading glasses worn while working. The glasses kept him in a “myopic state,” which allowed him to obsessively subdivide forms to the point at which the physicality of the paper was pushed to itʼs structural limit. The exhibitʼs final facet is a series of mirrored wall panels, both hyper-detailed and resembling a kaleidoscopic ink blot test. Natrop incorporates other atmospheric details – mirrored Mylar sheet window coverings and a multi-faceted lighting scheme – which highlight the exhibitʼs three main components, all connecting to form a free flowing narrative.
For this body of work, Natrop found inspiration in Los Angeles, and specifically itʼs river. As it traverses the city, the river is funneled into a narrow concrete channel built for the sole purpose of controlling seasonal flooding. It is a space both forgotten and unseen, filled with elements both natural and manmade. For the artist, it is a place where the essential character of man’s relationship with nature is concentrated and distilled: “Swaths of urban detritus carried by the runoff become ensnared in the tangle of wildlife. Frayed shopping bags, tangled nylon string, shredded clothing, strips of printed-matter festoon the leaf-stripped branches, jetsam flapping in the breeze like Tibetan prayer flags.” While deliberately ambiguous in it’s narrative, the work aims to reveal a sense of “natural meddling gone awry” while also engaging with the viewer on a psychological level. In the mirrored wall relief, the viewer is faced with their own reflection in a “Rorschach” pattern that their mind seeks to understand, decode and decipher. The use of lighting commonly found in clandestine indoor growing operations adds to the sense of a space that is both natural and artificial, beautiful and unsettling.