On The Wall: So Ugly, It's Beautiful

Roger Weik's Abstract Number 73 looks like any number of horrible things. Maybe a close-up view of a mummy's back, with jaundiced, rotting flesh peeking through the frayed, graying bandages. Or maybe it's more like some sort of a huge, nasty insect nest you'd find inside of a hollowed-out tree. If you were refurbishing an old house and you ripped open one of the walls, you might be distressed to discover something that looked a lot like this: dirty, spongy stuff covered with stringy bits of some kind of rotting fabric.

Any way you look at it, Abstract Number 73 is pretty hideous. But just because something is hideous and you'd never, ever want to hang it on your wall, that doesn't mean it can't be great. Abstract Number 73 doesn't look like something that a human would make. This is the kind of texture an object acquires after years away from people, in a dusty attic or way down at the bottom of the sea. It has the fascination of the natural, your eye is drawn to it the same way its drawn to petrified wood and mushrooms on the side of a rock. No matter how much time and hard work Weik put into this piece, it has the peculiar virtue of looking like he had nothing to do with it.

"The Paper Show" @ Grand Central Art Center, Rental/Sales Gallery 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana (714) 567-7233 Through Oct. 26th


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