Sam Feleo Crystallizes Time and Space in "The Horizon of Expectations"

  • by Jose Naval
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Crystal Sandbar (installation view). Mixed media (synthetically grown crystals, water-soluble powdered pigments, ceramic stoneware, epoxy, deco beads, sand). Variable dimensions. 2019.

Terror and awe permeate Samantha Feleo’s The Horizon of Expectations. Unlike vast sceneries or grand events (the boundless ocean, the crack of thunder) at which we could only balk, Feleo’s crystalline structures present the sublime in miniature. Exhibited in the CCP Small Gallery and Atriums until March 22, 2020, are microscopic views of an invisible world that resist common understanding.

The center showpiece is Crystal Sandbar, a depiction of a seabed with corals made from synthetic crystals. Their sputnik structures each possess unstable energy radiating from their cores, whose crystalline edges and layers may expand or disintegrate over time depending on environmental conditions. This is a present feature in Feleo’s crystals, all of which took six years to grow, harvest, and arrange to create her works. It makes for a kind of intimacy with the medium that doesn’t so much as restrict control as it does relieve one of it; a relationship focused on the process, not the result.

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Creations of Nature and Man Made Progeny (detail). Mixed media (paper collage, watercolor). 43 in x 10 m. 2019.

The motif of processes similarly underpins the rest of the works. Hanging against the wall at the backdrop of Crystal Sandbar is Creations of Nature and Man Made Progeny—itself a visual horizon of what Feleo deems possible—that portrays grotesque, surreal imagery in bright bursts of color. At the atrium is The Primordial Soup, a reference to the alternative theory of prebiosis to the big bang on the emergence of life. The interactive component, Kaleidoscope Bay, encompasses the vision to perceive a polycrystalline world.

Cartellino Horizon of Expectations Sam Feleo detail
A Grain of Sugar (detail). Mixed media (paper collage, deco beads, ink). 5.5 x 4 ft. 2019.

Elsewhere is A Grain of Sugar, a collage of cutouts that also took six years to make, comprising a lithosphere of bug carapaces, butterfly wings, rocks, seeds, fruits, and others culled from secondhand books and magazines. Commenting on this odd assortment as well the rest of her works, Feleo states, “The sublime and the metaphysical raise fundamental notions by which people understand the world and life: to ponder one’s existence, to think about objects and their properties, cause and effect… Ultimately, the works are both subject of the world and object of the world.”


Photography by TJ Aquino. Courtesy of Sam Feleo.
Anchor photo: Installation view of The Horizon of Expectations.