Lucky Debellevue

The Gallery of Art at Johnson County Community College will feature the abstract sculptures of Lucky DeBellevue. Some of the most interesting contemporary sculpture has been made with next-to-nothing materials, and this is the case with DeBellevue. His trademark craft material is chenille stems, commonly called pipe cleaners. They have the aura of kindergarten assignments meant to unlock the creative potential in every five-year-old, but in his hands take on an entirely new and loaded context. DeBellevue uses his materials as an efficient, low-cost means of making evanescent notions manifest and visible, by creating three-dimensional drawings in space. The artist twists the pipe cleaners’ ends together, one loop on top of another, building giant amorphous piles, a fragile architecture of fuzzy lines with little mass.

His interest in biological metaphors, sensual textures, rich colors and handcraft are reflected in the work. DeBellevue finds a kind of off-handed spontaneity in the process as well as a momentary occupation with his hands and thoughts. He calls it ‟a combination of practicality, experience and a method for discovery.”

DeBellevue’s coiled creatures emerge out of whole cloth from an intuitive form of punctuated equilibria, or what the artist refers to as the ‟hopeful monster” theory. That is to say, each precariously balanced abstraction begins as if it were a single nucleotide, then arbitrarily sparks and replicates into a luscious, if somewhat sinister, beast. An especially large spider could have made them, or an impervious strand of bacteria, but never a machine.

Lucky DeBellevue was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, and received an MFA from the University of New Orleans in 1987. He has had one-person exhibitions in Berlin, Germany and in New York and has shown his work in many group exhibitions throughout the U.S., South America and Europe.

The gallery guide features an essay by David Hunt, critic and curator, New York.