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Montserrat Gallery

October 5, 2015 - December 5, 2015

WOOD a group exhibition featuring Damien Hoar de Galvan (MA), Harry Roseman (NY),Damion  Silver (MA), Sally Tittmann (CT), and Michael Zelehoski (NY). Curated by gallery director Leonie Bradbury, the exhibition hosts contemporary art works that actively engage with the history and discourse of both sculpture and painting. Each artist questions the boundaries of these mediums as their work exists somewhere between the two and in the process aid to redefine the limitations of these terms.

Damien Hoar de Galvan’s Something Could Happen at Any Moment (2010-15) is a large-scale wall installation comprised of sixty-six wooden boxes that each contain one, two or three of de Galvan’s seventy-two smaller sculptures. The individual pieces range from miniature found objects (plastic bottles, soda cans, and matchsticks) to repurposed wood that is cut and glued into geometric shapes that are then painted. In their combination onto the wall the individual pieces become a singular whole that echoes the tradition of cabinets of curiosity. De Galvan intuitively placed each object within the ‘curiosity cabinet’, providing the sculptures with a niche to occupy with purpose. Once inside the box the negative space around the object and the pieces’ shadows also play a role in its visual perception. As a whole, the installation showcases the intuitive process and emphasis on play within de Galvan’s work, while simultaneously commenting on collecting and modes of presentation.

Each piece in Harry Roseman’s “Draped” and “Folded Plywood” series is created using a single sheet of commercially available plywood. Roseman cuts, stacks, and unites the plywood in a manner that makes reference to draped textiles. Folded Plywood 15 (2012) gives the illusion that the hard, materiality of wood has somehow transformed into a malleable cloth as it slumps down off the wall and onto the gallery floor. Boldly occupying both realms,Folded Plywood 15 draws awareness to the fact that paintings are traditionally installed on the wall, while sculptures generally occupy the floor. Folded Plywood 16 (2013) is hung directly onto the gallery wall. Although the piece simply has two folds, it is complex in the manner in which it questions its own being. What is it? A two-dimensional sculpture hung on the wall? A wall relief? At a basic level it can be described as a wall-mounted object while it simultaneously allows the viewer to not only realize, but experience, a rupture between the boundaries of two and three-dimensional planes.

Damion Silver created two new assemblages for WOOD combining pine, plywood, and fire. Both Medicine and Compass (2015) have large circular shapes that reference shields, as well as, traffic signs. Silver added a bright color on the backside of the panels that give off a soft glow as light is reflected onto the gallery wall. The intricate inlay pattern alternates between smooth golden pieces of pine and blackened scorched segments. Although abstract geometric compositions, the pieces speak to the many associations the use of wood brings to mind, in particular its contradictory relationship to fire. Burning is both a destructive and generative force that allows for matter to transform from one state to another. The pieces bring to mind the centuries old Japanese tradition of burning the wood surfaces of buildings for aesthetic effect also known as Shou sugi ban. It is a strategic burning of wood that as a result of the burning process makes it fire and bug resistant and last longer. Here, though, the burning serves to give the wood a sense of history and color, when combined with the pristine pine creates a contrasting, yet harmonious balance.

For Circus and In The Field (2007), Sally Tittmann uses reclaimed wood she found in a dumpster in Dumbo, NY. Her appendage-like constructions are pieced together like a puzzle, and reference the human body in particular hands or feet. Tittmann’s work embodies an animated or vulnerable spirit, breathing an anthropomorphic sensibility into an otherwise inanimate object. In The Field has a sadness or sense of tragedy to it. The seven-legged armature lays down on the gallery floor as if wounded or resting. As it lays, some ‘legs’ struggle to completely stretch outward, while others overlap one another; crippled and unable to untangle themselves. In contrast, Circus stands upright, stretching outward as if just awakening from a long slumber, recharged and exuding an joyous energy. Small, surprising marks of color are found throughout the works and allude to more of its unknown histories. The subtle combination of painting with objectness generates visual poetry in space.

Michael Zelehoski’s works achieve a unique balance between flatness and three- dimensionality. In Knot (2014) and Inversion Block (2015) the artist repurposes weathered, found wood and combines the pieces to create illusionist forms that activate both two and three-dimensional spatial planes. Due to the impeccable craft and intricate inlay compositions, the pieces create a trompe l’oeil effect (an optical illusion). When looking at the work the mind is confronted with a complex puzzle of contradictory perspectives and struggles to identify what it is looking at. The artist intentionally plays with the possible confusions of the picture plane and has stated: “Through this dialogue between the deconstruction of the object and the construction of form, I am able to create works that are picture, relief and object in one.” Zelehoski alters three-dimensional objects and asks them to perform in a two-dimensional space. As a result object becomes image.