Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Unconventional sculptures

I noticed two unconventional sculptures in Chelsea last week.

Leonardo Drew is exhibiting at the Brenda Taylor gallery. The single piece exhibited is a monumental wall relief in wood, cotton, nails and rust, titled #23, evokes the migration of African Americans from the rural south to the urban north beginning with the onset of the Jim Crow laws in the 1890’s. Using a loose grid reminiscent of a city street plan, Drew’s work seems like fitting commentary on injustices that must have accompanied the hordes during migration and after. The sculpture was visually strong and I felt a distinct sense of being overwhelmed by the spectacle. Of course, even if the gallery owner had not explained to me the circumstances surrounding the sculpture, I would still have found it extremely compelling – if only for the visual beauty. The picture below really does not do justice to the sculpture...

A fourteen foot sculpture titled 'Styrobot' dominates the exhibition space at Jeff Bailey Gallery at Chelsea. Constructed of Styrofoam packaging by the artist Michael Salter, the enormity of the piece invokes feelings of foreboding only to be supplanted by the knowledge that the whole thing is artfully constructed out of super light Styrofoam. No deep psychological insight here, but it seemed like a nice critique on consumer packaging goods. The exhibition also included examples of the artist’s kinetic sculptures and animated video’s, but all of them paled in comparison with the monster in the little room.

Two view's of Leonardo Drew's sculpture

Two view's of Michael Salter's Styrobot

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