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Friday, September 29, 2023

Fine Arts

Texas artist “attains excellence” in first solo exhibition

After spending most of his 25-year career under the radar, a Texas native and international artist debuted his first solo exhibition Friday evening at the Blaffer Art Museum.

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Andy Coolquitt’s exhibition launched Friday evening at Blaffer Art Museum | Thuy Nguyen

The opening of Andy Coolquitt’s exhibition, “Attainable Excellence,” is a collection of 60 discrete sculptures and tableaux made between 2006 and 2011. Coolquitt uses non-traditional materials, and he creates ready-mades and assemblages from a potpourri of trash and other found objects.

Coolquitt has garnered attention only in recent years that put himself into national and international art awareness.

“I’m more interested in, basically, creating a place, and all these objects are just things I can use to that end,” said Coolquitt. “I’m not interested in imparting my meaning on the viewer.”

He is known as a “master bricoleur,” curating human activity through his collection of the remnants of a wasteful society and transforming them into bright, visual displays.

A freelance designer and photographer Nadia Pacheco appreciated Coolquitt’s work.

“I find them very playful, cutting meaning away and putting them,” Pacheco said. “It’s a very interesting approach; he brought his studio with him.”

Several people were surprised by Coolquitt’s work, and some of his most iconic works were on display. His condensed wall of spindly “stick-pole” light sculptures feels off-putting at first glance, but upon further inspection, they become mesmerizing.

A local sculptor Daniel Esquivel Brandt valued the exhibition’s unique qualities.

“I feel very good to see the different forms and colors. It expresses happiness,” Brandt said. “They’re different but have harmony.”

Coolquitt’s crude work includes a display of hands flipping the bird, collections of lighters used by crack-addicts, “stick-poles” that resemble lamps, trails of dirt and a dirty, knit Pacman monster.

His materials are mundane and familiar, but his obsession with spatial language and social encounters lend these assemblages a sense of warmth, comfort and connection.

The ongoing exhibition at Blaffer will continue through Aug. 17.

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