“Four Skaters, Discussing Four Sculptors”
By Barry N. Neuman
A conference call amongst four ice skaters via mobile telephone.
Yohanna (on the Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Canada): As I’m carving a path upon the naturally-formed surface of the ice here, I am reminded of several sculptors whose works I’ve seen during the past two years.
Johanna (at City Hall, Toronto, Canada): They don’t produce work in a Fordist manner.
Hanna (in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, USA): Minimalists and serialists, they’re not.
Anna (at Sky Rink, New York, USA): They each skate laps of their own making.
H: In New York, we’ve seen works by Ross Knight, Kaushani Patel, and Diego Perrone.
A: And, in Brooklyn, Calli Moore’s work has been noteworthy.
Y: Knight’s solo show, “Human Stuff,” at Team Gallery in 2016 elicited such intense curiosity!
J: His use of materials was most inscrutable.
H: ☑ Cast platinum silicone.
A: ☑ Carved urethane.
Y: ☑ High-density polyethylene.
J: Knight has pointed out that the urethane "can be handled similarly to wood. However, unlike wood, it has no grain to speak of; so, there are no concerns in regards to material direction when manipulating [it.]"
Y: For a few moments, I wondered if Knight's works had been 3-D printed.
J: He hasn’t used 3-D printing to produce work. Knight opined that "that method of object-making and capabilities tend to turn out an unmistakable look."
H: He is "more interested in the mistakable or the slippage between the two."
A: Much of Kaushani Patel's work has been produced in response to the "sudden loss of domestic space and time" she felt after she moved from India to the United States.
Y: "Particularly, the kitchen," she added.
H: Patel works with food and objects that “cohere to...day to day life."
A: She "engages in personal histories."
Y: And, Patel sees her "materials taking gender roles, memory, [and] longing..."
H: While simultaneously “rejecting and celebrating the body."
A: Several of the works shown at Patel's MFA thesis exhibition at 80 Washington Square East Galleries, New York University, in 2017, featured the use of dough and dough-like material.
Y: In one work, a thin layer of baked dough covered a sizable tablet of polystyrene insulation foam.
J: In a single-channel projection video, a comb-like sculpture of baked bread was pushed forward and backward by a pair of hands over a table, covered with burgundy-colored syrup.
H: A trio of burgundy-colored, small-scale works appeared doughy or clay-like.
A: Two of them resemble unidentifiable tools. The other was braided.
Y: Patel found that her observations of her mother, working in the kitchen 16 hours a day, "eventually started showing up in [her] studio practice."
J: More specifically, she found that the “act of producing or providing food is considered…mundane, and, hence, not intellectual.”
H: Patel had “seen [her] mother…isolated in the kitchen and ‘consumed’ by the family as a homemaker.”
A: She is “also interested in how the food industry has entered [everyone’s] homes and snatched away the only space controlled by women.
Y: The kitchen, Patel believes, has become “a center of control and power.” Her “work takes on a fantasy role around what happens in this space.”
J: By involving herself in ideas of labor that is specific to women (e.g., repetitive physical movements; imitating mundane gestures, such as, braiding sculpture, frying paints; and working with the simplest of materials), she is better able to understand this psychological mood.
H: Diego Perrone’s work is characterized by diverse media, distinct forms, and a range of scales.
A: Taken altogether, though, they are harmonious.
Y: Perrone has said that by accumulating materials and imagining a hypothetical story, he is able to produce transformative results.
A: In these works, color liquids appeared to be floating through the glass.
J: It was as if he’d poured paint or dye into a body of water and enabled them to be suspended in a liquid state and not frozen in a solid state.
Y: Perrone indicated that he uses a technique that is similar to that of the “lost wax” process, used to make bronze.
J: “The wax, still present inside the cast, is melted using steam, and the cast is placed in a kiln. The glass is poured inside the cast in the form of glass stones or pieces of broken sheets. It is then heated to 850° Celsius (1,560° Fahrenheit), and, after several hours, the cooling process begins inside the kiln, which may last more than five weeks.”
H: “The particularity of this technique,” Perrone states, is that it offers solid works of sculpture, not empty ones, as in the case of blown glass. Full blocks, similar to minerals, are produced, however, they have unnatural colors.”
A: “The fusion of opaque and transparent glass creates a kind of visual landscape, and the fact that you can see inside the sculptures provides a contradiction between their clear physicality and their immaterial presence, which to me look like holograms.”
Y: Calli Moore creates the initial form of each of her works with insulation foam.
J: Which she said she has “only so much control over.”
H: For Moore, this process “allows openness for new evolution within the work.”
A: She indicates that although “the consistency in material is the same from piece to piece, the actual aesthetic can vary greatly.”
Y: The form, texture, and patina of each work are remarkable in-person.
J: In the group exhibition, “3D IRL” at Galerie Manqué, Brooklyn, the late afternoon sunlight passed over one of her works to great effect.
H: Such astonishing effects are typically visible only in-person.
A: “And, not necessarily through media.”
Y: None of these artists had looked back to the late 1960’s or early 1970’s to guide them towards how they conceive of or produce work.
J: That was a remarkable time.
H: Bruce Nauman.
A: Lynda Benglis.
Y: Eva Hesse.
J: Marisa Merz.
H: We’re living, today, in a time of remarkable creativity.
A: Eva Lewitt’s work, included late last year in a group exhibition, “Fingerspitzengefühl,” curated by Andrianna Campbell and John Newman, at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, was most noticeable.
Y: “Connect-Ing Walls,” a solo show of intriguingly produced tableaux by Nadiya Jinnah was presented at Salon St. Denis in that space’s swansong exhibition.
J: I don’t know if we are in a new age of “eccentric abstraction,” but it’s…
H: …time to…
A: …contemplate how…
Y: ..what’s not the norm…
J:…may be the norm.
The writer thanks each of the artists for agreeing to be individually interviewed via e-mail between August and December 2017. The writer also thanks Casey Kaplan Gallery, Team Gallery, and the art department of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development for coordinating contact between the writer and, respectively, Diego Perrone, Ross Knight, and Kaushani Patel.
Barry N. Neuman was previously the New York editor of the online edition and an associate editor of the hard copy edition of “Boiler,” Milan. Works of his published in “Boiler” include interviews with Matthew Antezzo, Carles Congost, Christian Flamm, Graham Little, Victor Rodriguez, Francis Ruyter, and Gordon Terry. He has additionally guest-curated group exhibitions at Team Gallery, New York, and La Panadería, Mexico City. Mr. Neuman received a M. A. in visual arts administration from New York University and a B. A. in biological sciences from the State University Of New York At Binghamton.
Photograph by Lance Evans
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