D’Amelio Terras is pleased to present a two-person exhibition featuring sculpture by gallery artists Polly Apfelbaum and Nicole Cherubini. Never before exhibited together, both bodies of work showcase an improvisational studio practice and engage an exchange about the dimensionality of clay and its potential for abstraction. In this exhibition, both artists raise their work off of the floor; Apfelbaum experiments with the elevated surface of a pedestal-like shelf whereas Cherubini’s work reclaims the conventionally painterly territory of the gallery wall.
Partially inspired by Eva Hesse’s tabletop ‘studioworks,’ a mélange of experimental works discovered in her studio posthumously, Polly Apfelbaum’s miniature samplers invoke a practice in which process and material are primary to object and abstraction explodes automatically from an exuberant dialogue between color and pattern. Apfelbaum’s nickname for these tactile works, “feelies,” pays homage to a trio of multimedia references: work by the same name of American potter Rose Cabat, the brightly colored canvases of Color Field painter Paul Feeley and the 1980’s underground rock band The Feelies. Unfired and still malleable, the polymer and plasticine clay panels present a kaleidoscopic landscape outlining a narrative built of compositional impulse. Uneven checkerboards, latticed squares, strident lines and multicolored spirals invite open-ended associations and defy precise categorization. Presented in a grid, the works both complement and oppose each other as irregular edges, right angles neighboring undulating arches, create surprises in negative space.
Nicole Cherubini’s crushed boxes act as non-functional containers, exhaling compressed volume as their tops cave, sides buckle, and seams strain. Originating from a point of formal affinity, each of these works is initially shaped by the one-time mold of the particular corrugated cardboard packaging in which the clay came. Embodying a minimalist tendency towards repeated form, Cherubini’s sculptures simultaneously deny it as individual shape materializes from her folding, finger-prodding and flattening. In discussion with Robert Rauschenberg’s 1970’s cardboard box sculptures, some of which were illusorily rendered in clay, these works emphasize an interplay between the two-dimensional surface of three-dimensional sculpture and its occupied space. Mounted on the wall, terracotta and earthenware act as unruly canvases whose contours guide the path of gleaming falls of exploratory glaze. Like paint, these aquatic and terrestrial splashes of color and texture adorn the surfaces of abstract forms, creating depth from movement and mark making.
Polly Apfelbaum will have an upcoming solo exhibition at D’Amelio Terras in September of 2010. She currently has work on view at Clifton Benevento Gallery in New York, NY and the Kunsthallen Brandts in Odense, Denmark. Her recent exhibitions include: Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, MT; the Carlow Visual Center for Contemporary Art in Carlow, Ireland; Helmhaus in Zurich, Switzerland and Milton Keynes Gallery in Milton Keynes, England.
Nicole Cherubini will have upcoming exhibitions at Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, Canada and Samson Projects in Boston, MA this Fall and at the RISD Museum of Art in Providence, RI in November 2010. Recently, she has exhibited at the Project Room at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in Santa Monica, CA; the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA; the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, PA; and held two concurrent exhibitions hosted by D’Amelio Terras and Smith-Stewart in New York in 2008.