A Fish Out of Water
May 28, 2017 / artguide
When travels take me to Washington DC I always stop by the Renwick Gallery, just behind the White House, to see Larry Fuente’s kitschy “Game Fish” sculpture. The well named piece is covered with parts of baby doll, dominoes, beads, plastic baubles, buttons and mass-produced items of no intrinsic value that transform the mundane into extraordinary. Fuente’s talent lies in his special insight to pattern these miscellaneous objects into designs that mimic natural texture and form.
The fish sculpture shown here is a Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the James Renwick Alliance originally a museum purchase that is made of black auto-body type epoxy resin, polyurethane resin, plywood and plastic toys. And yes, I had to ask, Game Fish is dusted and cleaned twice a week to maintain its shiny fish like appearance.
Larry is also popular for his ‘Art Car’ creations that use the same bits and bobbles to change the appearance of a vintage vehicle into a colorful sculpture of depth, pattern and visual interest. Though some would like to cite him with a moving ‘art’ violation, the Fuente’s cars represent an act of personal artistic expression and 1950’s Americana.
If you are wondering, his cars can be driven, but hopefully not through a car wash. The charm of Larry’s sculptural creations is found in the experience of re-examining the ordinary and assigning it value through the heart of an artist who is self-taught and self-funded. Whether intentional or an aimless gathering of fragmented bits, Fuente broke through the doctrine of mainstream galleries to be represented in one of the nation’s most significant art collections. What could possibly be more American!
Written by Art Guide contributor Elsa K. Berlin
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