Lindsay Iliff

Review by Mateo Galvano, April 2018


Lindsay Iliff’s cardboard sculptures embrace poetic geometries. Like the Bauhaus artist Anni Albers, whose modernist textiles originated from her encounter with Goethe’s The Metamorphosis of Plants, Iliff’s work is rooted in fundamental forms. Constructed tangentially, as if by some slowly spiraling inner weather, the sculptures are actuated by accrual. They measure time and timelessness. Composed of triangular segments, the tetrahedral components cluster together and congregate like biologic cells or utopian architectonic prototypes. They describe the very process by which they were built. Varying in size from pedestal pieces to human scale, the resultant works alternately snake along horizontal planes or curve away from wall attachments, as if trained by a languid magnetic gravity. Most often they climb skyward from their base or from the floor, like asymmetrical stairways, or plants straining attentively toward sunlight. They articulate and activate the negative space that surrounds them, illustrating the significance of process in their conception and resolution.

Using cast-off cardboard boxes, Iliff deftly scores, cuts, folds and glues the material into poised assemblages. The exterior surfaces bear marks of the artist’s penciled measurements as well as subtle packaging details such as printed numbers or incidental abrasions caused by the peregrinations of postal shipping services. In some cases, Iliff finishes an object with a uniform layer of acrylic paint not unlike the color of the original cardboard. In further examples, Iliff selects facets of the object to highlight with pale pink, white or yellow hues. In recent iterations, Iliff has cast the sculptures in bronze. These have been pigmented in charcoal-to-saffron ombrés or pearlescent tints beneath which the corrugated texture of the original casing is retained. These interventions of paint or of bronze fabrication do not countermand the basic materiality of the cardboard. Conversely, the effects serve to celebrate the humble medium and to assist in the viewer’s appreciation for the commonplace, practical material that has been repurposed.

To contemplate Iliff’s work is to engage in our universal inclination toward harmonious proportions and the mesmerizing complexities of fractal patterns. The work is wrought by abstract means in a minimalist tradition. The sculptures cause the observer to consider the coexistence of the disembodied and the corporeal. Their resolute, structural forms demonstrate geometric and mathematical principles while intimating metaphysical inquiries.

To learn more about Lindsay Illif visit

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Mateo Galvano is a multi-media artist working with painting, drawing, printmaking, digital arts, creative writing, sound and installation, Mateo Galvano’s recent awards include a Willapa Bay AiR Fellowship and a Jentel Foundation Residency Fellowship Award. His work has been exhibited in solo shows nationally, including Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mainsite Contemporary in Norman, Oklahoma and Muse Gallery in Columbus, Ohio, in addition to Aumonerie Saint Jacques in Gordes, France. His works are included in numerous collections nationally and in Europe. The recipient of an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Ohio University, Galvano is an arts writer and consultant for artists and teaches studio art and visual culture at Ohio University.

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Photo by Tasha Ostrander