The group show ‘Pewter Wings, Golden Horns, Stone Veils’ curated by Nick van Woert includes Sam Falls, Langdon Graves, Ryan Johnson, Ross Knight, Todd Knopke, Matt King and Austin Willis. The title of the show is taken from a book by the late architect John Hejduk.
Where the architect explored the social and psychological dimensions of space, this group of artists explore the social, political and psychological dimensions of materials.
Sam Falls’ work deals with time and representation. He uses materials such as hand dyed or synthetic fabrics, depending on the place and what it warrants, to create site-specific installations. Falls’ outdoor sculptures are often made of parts that will rust or fade while other parts stay unchanged, to illustrate time passing.
Drawing from the conventions of product display and commercial architecture, Matt King’s work takes us on a circuitous route through the systems of global distribution. At once familiar and peculiar, his partially dismantled and vacated structures deny their utilitarian reference. By framing spaces whose emptiness makes room for contemplative consideration, King offers a meditative use with the remnants of an exhausted landscape.
Todd Knopke’s practice takes the American tradition of quilting with the European tradition of tapestry knitting and combines them with contemporary ideas of collage, sculpture and painting. To allow for more clarity in his exploration, Knopke focuses on the inherent richness of the material, with its diverse color and texture rather than basic physics. He uses mostly material gathered from friends and family to investigate how material is imbued with the personal.
The intimate structures by Ross Knight hinge on visual relationships formed when recontextualized materials are shaped to touch one another in specific and suggestive ways. Ross’ describes his work as “awkwardly aesthetic and a reminiscent of something familiar; possessing a vague practical application they are neither formalist nor minimalist”. At first glance the work seems to represent one thing while at the same time suggesting a different function.
Langdon Graves’ drawings and sculptures tread a careful line between the beautiful and unsettling and often cross the line between the imagined and the physical. Inspired by basic human circumstances she explores the body and transformation, aging, degeneration, healing and the role of belief in these processes. For her most recent sculptures she borrows elements from the International Code of Signals and redirects their meaning through disassembly and unlikely arrangements. Signal flags send broken messages that materialize into gestures of self-defeat and halfJhearted recovery.
Turning away from traditional sculpture and through his playful use of material Ryan Johnson creates a theatrical tension between ‘stuff’ and its implied function. This conflict of the used artifacts, materials and the suggested images plays a key role for Johnson. He finds inspiration in modernist architecture that focuses on the relationship between form and function.
Austin Willis’ body of work is pervaded by a fascination with sound. In his video works, Willis plays with the possibilities of the medium to create an effect of dislocation through patterns, repetition and rhythmic structures. In this recent work he explores different media as he continues to investigate the disruption of normality.
Nick van Woert (1979) was born in Reno, Nevada and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His work was shown by GRIMM in the group show ‘High, Low and in Between’ in 2009 and in his first major solo exhibition ‘SHE-WOLF’ in 2010. In 2011 Yvon Lambert hosted Van Woert’s first Paris show ‘Anatomy’ as well as his first New York show ‘Breaking and Entering’. In September 2011 FIAF Gallery presented Nick van Woert’s ‘Terra Amata’ as part of the fifth edition of FIAF’s annual contemporary arts festival Crossing the Line.