Occupying the three vaunted spaces of the warehouse-scale Finale Art Gallery is the high profile conceptual artist Nilo Ilarde. In his exhibition “Almost Doing Nothing,” the artist delivers another forceful showing of objects and installation works that thread the conventional classification of what constitutes a work of art.
Recalling the dictums of conceptualism, the exhibition’s title cues Ilarde’s proposition of creating work with minimal actual engagement and massive detachment and is perhaps the artist’s own ploy of distraction in that there really is a lot of work going on. In the three projects occupying the intimate to vast spaces, the artist moves into a region that focuses more on the value of each space, extracting connotations from its histories as witnessed by the artist. In a way, it is a departure from Ilarde’s initial foray in Finale’s the Tall Gallery that featured spectacular life-size objects on display.
A sneak preview of what is in store is a startling and challenging sculpture/installation that allegorizes art-making on various levels, a video room and what it serves to be subverted and romanticized, and highly charged tribute work to Roberto Chabet. In these copious activities, Ilarde fuses and effectively employs conceptual art strategies and carries the burden of such responsibilities. The seemingly stark yet dramatic representations is a vital stop, especially at these progressive times where art’s purpose gets entangled in the advent of an ever growing art industry.