Exotic wood, often relegated to a decorative element in functional objects, is, in its raw state, visually stunning. So, rather than giving it a secondary role, Zak Ostrowski, the current artist-in-residence at the Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio, collaborates with the organic forms, creating ready-mades from nature, altered only by paint, writing tools, satin finishes and carvings.
The transformations make up the alchemy-inspired installation at P3, where framed slabs of spalted wormy maple become a triptych, and burned wood becomes an abstract union of bright enamels and charred cells. Visitors mark a graffiti-style canvas of 150-year-old redwood waiting to be sealed, making vibrant the underlying layers of synthetic color.
- Morphological Alchemy
- Through July 15; Wednesday-Sunday, 6-11 p.m. Reception July 12, 7-9 p.m., free
- Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio, 698-7000
The space itself is a transformation. Ostrowski built an installation out of exotic woods from six different continents—altered, then hung by twine above a base of large chunks of wood and lumber. It’s an outstanding structure of the crude and polished, showcasing the diversity of color and grain. The wood shavings—in natural reds, yellows, blues, greens pinks and purples—are sprinkled below.
In Morphological Alchemy Ostrowski, of course, is not breaking laws of physics, but rather playing with the idea of transformation and perspective using the rare wood (and found metal objects dipped in nickel silver or 24-carat gold), creating new value—an alchemy-based installation within a casino in a city that figuratively spun gold out of a desert.