Visiting Christopher Puzio’s Studio was a real treat: his work plays a lot on the “frame the view” concept, a key sub-line from the beginning of Reinventingrid, back in January 2017. That is how my eye travels: I simply love capturing in pictures how some art installations encapsulate what lies around them. Bringing the world to attention…
San Diego is incredibly fortunate to have many Christopher Puzio works around. All have this uncanny versatility of framing a view while opening up space. He is literally, and figuratively, drilling on what an open work can be.
This right there inscribes the sculptural works of Christopher Puzio into an architectural quest which started with the Gothic style, walking the line between what History of Architecture professor Ian Sutton describes as “an aesthetic of line rather than mass”.
Christopher walks this line with every artwork, never compromising the silhouetted lines of his repeated patterns with the solidity of his materials of choice.
Finding inspiration for his motifs during trips to the desert, Christopher creates works which heighten the perception of our surroundings yet also extend the space inhabited.
As his metal lattices soar up, their physical materiality poetically expands into an immaterial shadow play of ravishing beauty.
Working metal like lace, Christopher Puzio creates works never shying away from their industrial nature as they reach the delicacy of architectural jewelry.
This incredible duality between sturdy materials (corten steel or bronze) and the dream catching effect of the shadows projected, courtesy of the San Diego sun, is what got me hooked in the first place.
Perhaps it is all about light once more: it’s always been all about light but I am glad San Diego’s public art makes the most of it by filteringit through Christopher Puzio’s pieces.
If you decide you want this at home, he can work smaller scales.
Now you decide if you see Puzio works as gates, delineating spaces neatly, or screens allowing you to see while only partially being seen. I guess it all depends on your mood and your perceptions, how open or close you feel that day.
But can you resist the adventures that his web of cast shadow reflections invite you to?
Personally, I travel back to the Moorish motives of Granada’s Alhambra and the mashrabiya screens of Fatehpur Sikri in India. The shadow plays of the harem’s pierced screens are full of mystery. Can you see in? Can they see out?
Here and there, no matter how harsh, light is filtered to an ornamental patterned quality.
Sometimes it is even hard to spot where the sculptured metal ends and where the shadow starts. To me, this solders the world under our sun with the world of our thoughts while at the same time opening channels to go between the two.
This reminded me of a recent trip to Chicago where I got to experience another public artwork focused on Light and Space: Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate.
Enjoying it pretty much on my own during my early morning run, the reflective facture of its polished steel brought the sky and surrounding Chicago skyline closer to me and fostered meditative thoughts and reflections, in all sense of the term. It acted as a portal bringing the sky and world to a closer and more immediate space, allowing my mind to dive inward.
Later that day, the same sculpture became a social magnet, a “gathering” in the 1960s performance art sense, coined by Allan Kaprow. People flocked to Cloud Gate, met up, put on a show: the world coming down, feeling and experiencing outward.
Looking again and again at what Christopher Puzio builds, I see portals to travel between these “worlds”, to step into the view right in front of us. For readers of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, they may as well be windows onto parallel worlds.
Take Harbor Island for example. It frames Downtown San Diego beautifully and YOU choose how big you want your frame to be, or which facet of the city you want to focus on.
That to me is the power public art can have…and we need more of it. Luckily, downtown San Diego is getting this one soon.
To learn more about Christopher Puzio and his stunning works, check his website.
For other Artist Studio visits on Reinventingrid, check here.
© 2018 Ingrid Westlake
All pictures by Ingrid Westlake, unless otherwise stated.