Signs Of The Times

By Amy T. Granite

Christopher Konecki spent the last year scavenging Southern California's underbelly for materials to use in his solo show Destination: Lost. From San Diego to the Imperial Valley, he's collected dingy remnants that, at one time, stood for something brighter: A café sign reading, Good food chicken dinner $1.15; a door, perhaps to a hotel suite; and hundreds of tiny fish bones from the Salton Sea, a resort town turned ecological disaster area."It's the idea of being certain at some point... and losing that," Konecki says.

The 27-year-old painter and craftsman incorporates the found materials into his art to tell stories about decaying dreams, personal heartbreak, investments gone bad.

In "Cut and Run," Konecki's painting of a mid-century, desert motel appears on an old, rusty door and other artifacts seemingly rescued from a dilapidated motel. The building in the painting is stylish, showing a glimmer of its former oasis, but bold, black shadows casting off palm trees and parking lot signage - not to mention the materials used to fabricate a canvas - suggest something ominous is at play.

"It's about being elicit in cheating, running away from your problems and f---ing your brains out in a motel," Konecki says. Those dramatic shadows show up repeatedly in more than a dozen of Konecki's new pieces, emphasizing darkness and isolation across landscapes that appear to have endured scorching heat and dust storms. There is no concept of ground; instead, structures - like a freestanding, vintage light-up sign in "Remains of Certainty" - float as if suspended in a post-apocalyptic dreamscape.

"The whole concept is like taking a road trip off the edge of the map," Konecki says, "where you have gone too far."

4/11-5/10: "Destination: Lost" by Christopher Konecki
Subtext Gallery
2479 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy
619.459.2332, subtextgallery.com

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