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Date Minted:  August 25, 2019

Artist Description:  This work bot formally and conceptually plays on thresholds and their boundaries in relation to subtle movements. A subtle movement will never break the vapor that presses upon them creating a boundary of force they are always constrained within.  

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

I suppose it’s fair to say that Hexluids comes from Placeofmany’s (Brandi Kyle’s) abstract period. This is an extended stretch within her Superrare oeuvre where the artist —a master of digital art across styles and forms and subjects— consistently explores abstract shapes, visions, and landscapes, reveling in the power to explore color and line within undefinable circumstances. Hexluids is a standout from this period, one in which the artist is not just able to play with color and shape, but creates a fantastical texture from within the interplay. Of this play “on thresholds and boundaries,” Placeofmany writes, “This work both formally and conceptually plays on thresholds and their boundaries in relation to subtle movements. A subtle movement will never break the vapor that presses upon them creating a boundary of force they are always constrained within.” Constraints, and the desire to break out of them, are at the clearly-defined heart of Hexluids, this shape-shifty and uniquely colored piece from August 2019. Though beginning their oeuvre with more identifiable shapes, and though eventually turning their sights towards recognizable people, objects, animals, and techniques, Hexluids showcases the artist fully unmarried from identifiable form. In such a landscape, Placeofmany finds great effect in merely mashing together the base elements of artistry —shape, color, and line— and setting them on an untraceable path of motion, change, and interaction. 

Look at this swirling beehive. All we can do is invent associations for an image which clearly has neither analogue or influence in the waking world. The slow movement of colors and forms almost appears glitchy, like our computer is lagging, bestowing everything therein an odd dreaminess, the way dream logic adds a layer of malfunction to acts as simple as speaking, breathing, and walking. There are probably three-dozen hexagon shapes stuffed together within Hexluids, and yes, there is a liquid-like element to how the individual colors within them move. Texturally, the hexagons seem to be made of some kind of gelatin, rubbery but soft and malleable while still maintaining an ability to revert back to their original size and shape. But they strain against that original size and shape, the colors within them sloshing around within each hexagon, reflecting an esoteric movement we can only really guess at, and the hexagons respond in turn, their skins pushing outward, their bodies straining against the bodies of those beside them, and here we can see what Placeofmany meant when they said this piece was an exploration of boundaries. Almost every color one can imagine is represented here, though all are mottled and washed-out. Yet they press up against their hexagonal cages just as those cages press up against the others they abutt, everything locked into place by the nature of Placeofmany’s constricting artistry. And so, unable to move away from themselves, the hexagons and colors within them move against themselves. As mentioned, the hexagons bloat and distend. The colors wash around within the hexagons, moving from wall to wall. Until, ultimately, colors begin to bleed out through invisible holes in the hexagons. One spot of walled-in black suddenly leaks outward, dissolving into the nearby area like ink, and now the boundaries themselves are hard to gauge, as we realize we’ve been recognizing them via the colors and not via the shapes themselves. But as suddenly and unceremoniously as the colors begin oozing into each other, they are soon sucked back in, and the initial construction is revisited, the boundaries between shapes again solid, and colors tucked within their hexagonal homes. 

What is perhaps oddest about this piece is how much it feels like we’re observing a natural process. That owes to the technical prowess of the composition, the realistic way the hexagons move and strain against themselves, the inkiness with which colors interact, swish around, bleed one into another. It’s almost as if we’re seeing some tiny, chemical world from within a microscope, watching organic matter going about its automatic, enzymatic business. 

I’m also struck by how much the movement of color is able to affect our ability to spot defined shapes within the frame. As colors move, borders break down or are otherwise obscured, and what were once obviously-defined hexagons turn into long, inseparable matchsticks, or simply appear formless as waves do while they break onto shore. I think a lot of that effect has to do with how slow and deliberate the movement in this piece is, almost stilted, to the point of appearing broken. One has to assume that was an artistic choice and not a quality of technical limitations. As mentioned, the effect is dreamlike, but also hyper-sensual, with each individual texture of the hexagons not only visible but observable. Each slight shake, shimmy, and bulge becomes obvious. And we can watch the specific mechanisms by which colors spill over and merge, the technical process behind the piece revealed for our viewing pleasure. The altogether, cohesive result is of some kind of natural environment buzzing, humming with movement. But in each individual sector, each tiny cell, we can see its unique movement, expression, and life; the speed and candor within every aspect of the larger, shambling whole. 

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