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Visual Arts

Highbrows beware: Another nail is being hammered into the coffin that contains what was once deemed “fine art.”

The hammer in question: a pneumatic hammer wielded by Pascal Pierme, a mixed-media artist whose show at Hohmann Gallery on El Paseo in Palm Desert has been extended until June 20.

The exhibit includes some well-executed freestanding wood sculptures. However, these works remain secondary to the visual and creative vision offered by the artist’s wall sculptures.

While each piece is unique, each sculpture shares at least one or two stylistic elements (like texture or finish), an emotional draw or a color palette with at least one other piece on display.

Like collage, Pierme’s wall sculptures are best viewed in two different ways: From a distance, the viewer can take in the entire composition; close up, the viewer can better understand the artist’s creative process, including his choice of materials, his technical expertise and the attributes used, like texture or shading.

The artist’s use of color ranges from high-gloss paint and veneers to semi-gloss, and he uses subtle shading with muted—not muddied—colors. In fact, his works tend to be more about painting than wall sculpture.

“Pierme’s works are neither paintings nor sculpture,” Hohmann points out. “They are something in between—sort of a manifestation of architecture and space.”

“Les Origines 98” is rather boring when looked at head-on: The viewer sees 11 long, thin, rectangular strips of wood hung vertically. The wall becomes the canvas, since each strip hangs at the same height above the floor, and the spacing between strips is identical. The only thing that differentiates each strip from the others is the number and varying diameters of half-circles cut out from the sides of each strip.

Five steps to the left or right of center changes the conversation from “Blah” to “Wow!” The cutout areas appear in distinctly different colors: a yellow tinged with green on the left, and light blue with gray on the right. In the Les Origines series, Pierme remains true to his Minimalist style; he embraces simplicity yet manages complexity.

“Antipodes 2” (below) dominates space and commands attention. This 6-foot-by-6-foot work is more painting than sculpture, featuring 12 unique square panels. The top and bottom rows have two square panels, while the middle two rows each have four, creating a plus sign, of sorts. The 12 squares share the same size and the same palette of subdued earth tones: light sand, reddish ochre, solid black, deep teal, dark polished granite, light tan with the grain visible, dark red blood agate, and aubergine. Pierme remains true to the Minimalist aesthetic here, while also including elements of Conceptual Art by using a grid to define the size of each square, the layout and the spacing between panels.

Over the past several years, Pierme’s aesthetic and innovative techniques have received increasing recognition and respect among both artists and collectors. “Most recently,” a Hohmann said, “a Pierme piece has been acquired by the MOCA in Atlanta.”

The work of Pascal Pierme is on display at Hohmann Fine Art, 73660 El Paseo, in Palm Desert, through Monday, June 20. For more information, call 760-346-4243, or visit www.hohmannfineart.com.

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