Rock the Flock

Neon sheep breed introspection and maybe even a little individualism in this dazzling art installation

The new installation at the Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery is full of sheep. So who gives a flock?

Perhaps you will. The visual spectacle of a ceramic lamb sporting a pink neon nimbus times 40 is the perfect mix of kitsch and reverence. Even though David Adey’s Flock wasn’t made for Las Vegas, it exemplifies the incongruities of life here. In an era of arena-size mega churches and Facebook friend lists in the thousands, this flock of diminutive lambs turn their heads in unison ready to “like” the next wired thing that arrives from the vast void.

Flock is about conformity—social, political, religious or otherwise. The installation literally illuminates this simple and thought-provoking concept. The darling lambs in Flock are all connected to the same power source flowing through heavy, industrial cables that look like they could power a strip-club marquee. Their neon halos are lit through the miracle of electrical engineering, which forces a meditation on the scientific discoveries that were once attributed to God. The pink glow produced by the halos can be seen as a symbolic expression of incarnation (God’s return to earth), or it can recall the late-night interior of the Peppermill Lounge.

Adey is an award-winning San Diego-based artist and professor who has garnered national recognition for his work. Flock was featured in the 2010 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach. Adey earned his MFA (’02) from the prestigious Cranbook Academy of Art in Michigan, and recently received the 2010-11 San Diego Art Prize in the Emerging Artist Category.

This show will appeal to a broad demographic in terms of age and interest. And Flock just might be a visual call to action for us to make 2012 be better all around: Break loose from the flock and power your own glow, untethered and unafraid.