Santos Shelton, “Big Things Have Small Beginnings” at Betti Ono Gallery

by admin on November 14, 2013

Influenced by concepts of space, time, sci-fi and ancient civilizations, Oakland artist Santos Shelton explores ideas such as the Big Bang theory and planetary evolution, expressing them in his paintings and drawings with brightly-colored, bold geometric abstraction to capture the immense sublime nature within the universe, galaxies, planets and life forms. In his  solo show “Big Things Have Small Beginnings” now at Betti Ono Gallery, Shelton has created a kind of parallel universe to convey not just the world and people around him, but to question existence on a much more meaningful scale.

“My goal is to create something larger than myself,” says Shelton, “to manifest an Idea that lives beyond my own existence.” These artworks at Betti Ono create unique interplanetary environments through an intriguing use of signs both deeply personal and quite universal, creating a rich narrative with multiple layers. Triangles, which are further modified to squares and rhombi, are prominently included throughout installations, drawings, and painting, expressing perhaps earthly elements or a journey towards harmonious balance. Dashed and chevron striping poised against meandering lines may reveal that the universe’s seemingly opposite or contrary forces are, in fact interdependent, and re-energize each other. What resembles a compass rose, as well as its manipulations may express a long journey towards self-awareness. This journey is also proliferated with moments of metamorphosis, as Shelton shows in one drawing turns water to vapor, and then ascends to the clouds. Even as this seems to be a personal journey, Shelton welcomes audiences to share in this experience.

Santos Shelton, “Big Things Have Small Beginnings” will be at Betti Ono Gallery, 1427 Broadway, through December 6

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