“Lunar Mirror” is a simple, yet detailed and aesthetically pleasing exhibition of aluminum sculpture and chalk/oil drawings on black grounds by Christopher Badger. Derived from an interest in studying the geography and cycles of the moon, the works nestle between earthworks and topography, abstraction and cosmology. The process holds my attention just as strongly as the works themselves, which are remarking on the potential for something more than they appear.
The series entitled “Lunar Mirrors” are cast aluminum relief sculptures generated through 3D mapping of photographs taken by the Apollo 15 spacecraft circa 1974. Knowing this, the pieces seem to allude to the human curiosity of planetary exploration while at the same time are solidified objects of potential. Like bronze baby shoes, they are cherished relics that bring a distant planet directly into our close gaze so that we may ponder our relationship to it – literally; each piece is polished so that the viewer can see their strangely distorted reflection in the ripples, small crevices, rolling planes and larger moon craters on the surfaces. This reflective relationship with the work is more difficult to experience in the pieces that are displayed on stout tables, but rather these allow the viewer to kneel down and study the terrain at an expected angle.
Although the tables are intriguing, the vertical pieces are more compelling and strongly support Badger’s scientific and conceptual interests. Consistent with all of the work is a clear cartographic dedication. While the “Lunar Mirrors” are definitive topographical studies, the piece “Shadow Phase” is a remarkable work of sixteen pristine, circles in varying shades of white to grey on a matte, black gesso panel. Each circle represents a phase of the moon – the full moon at clock’s midnight – the new moon at 6 p.m. The varying stages of waxing and waning complete the circular arrangement and are accented by concentric delicate, blue rings. Decidedly mathematical, this piece also alludes to the potential of celestial phenomenology while leveraging itself with Minimalism, or perhaps a nod to the mystically practical architecture of Buckminster Fuller. Within Badger’s studies of the moon’s texture and cyclical patterns, we are able to glimpse futuristic untouchable realms grounded in abstraction – which is equally elusive and nonetheless engaging.
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-Contributed by Leora Lutz