Art Review: Andy Diaz Hope: "Infinite Mortal"

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Through Jan. 1 at Catharine Clark Gallery, 150 Minna (at Third St.), S.F. Free; 399-1439 or www.cclarkgallery.com.

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Even if you didn't know that Andy Diaz Hope has two engineering degrees, you might guess he did by looking at his fantastical sculptures. They're festooned inside with intricate patterns and light systems that suggest a luminous engineering grid. Optical allusions, as it were. But Diaz Hope, based in San Francisco, is more than just a technical artist. He's a humorist and a theorist who, with his latest series of sculptures, explores the issue of mortality. In the hands of another artist, the subject might be grim, but with Diaz Hope, you get a black 6-foot sphere with peepholes that let you peer within, where spinning Jesuses, mirrors, and tie-dyed colors create a labyrinth that looks like it goes on forever. Inside another sculpture — this one almost 7 feet tall — he's placed a cascade of mirrors and orange, flickering bulbs that create the atmosphere of a candle-filled church at night. Diaz Hope's mixed-media art (photos constructed of gel capsules and glass vials) is also at Catharine Clark, as are intricate tapestries he made with artist Laurel Roth. All of his works are visual triumphs. Many have literal reflections that point toward different directions, suggesting that all paths are the right one.

 
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