The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to present a selection of recent works by Liz Glynn, Justin Matherly, Amy O’Neill, Nadine Robinson and Michael Sailstorfer. The exhibition presents a wide variety of approaches to contemporary sculpture.
Liz Glynn explores the ambition of empire and the pleasure of ruin. Her practice seeks to embody dynamic cycles of growth and decay, and to propose direct action through sculptural material. In her most recent series, California Surrogates for the Getty, 2008, Glynn took all of the pieces the Getty had to infamously return to Italy once it was proven they were looted and remade them using distinctively simple materials and methods. “Glynn’s works are not replicas, as they do not fake authenticity. In her practice she emphasizes the contemporary, this notion of an ever-shifting present, using the past not as an action long over, but as agent in the present.”
Justin Matherly creates sculptures consisting of ambulatory equipment (walkers, crutches, shower chairs) that have been reconfigured to hold up concrete forms which recall misfigured bodies, roughhewn monuments, and abject accretions alike. Matherly's new series of sculptures take inspiration from Juno Ludovisi, the colossal first century Roman marble head. The artist’s interests were influenced by research into the writings of the Friedrich Schiller’s “On the Aesthetic Education of Man” and Jacques Ranciere’s essays on the statue. Also examining the domination of Greek Culture on Western thought and the principles of Romanticism, Matherly states his process is “not a sacrilization of works of the past, instead it is a de-sacrilization, a reawakening.”
Amy O’Neill explores the decayed modes of cultural production in the North American and European landscape. Through installations, drawings and films, she draws upon vernacular culture and folklore, foregrounding their strangeness and blurring the distinction between the registers of the authentic and kitsch. Influenced by the Victory Gardens, which were planted at private residences and public parks across the United States and Europe during the two World Wars, O’Neill’s new series of floor sculptures builds upon the artist’s interest in the “defunct mode of domestication and plays with the relationship between the functional and the symbolic.”
Nadine Robinson is a conceptual artist working primarily in light and sound. Born in London to African parents, Robinson spent her childhood in Kingston, Jamaica; she later immigrated to New York. Her work is a reflection of her cultural hybridity, and the result of her critical engagement with notions of blackness, urbanism, spirituality and the legacy of the male-dominated, white modernist canon. Robinson has become well known for her large-scale sculptures and “sonic paintings” that work within a minimalist vocabulary, combining sounds, audio equipment and unconventional materials in challenging ways.
Michael Sailstorfer creates tangibly poetic images evoking states of euphoria and disintegration, by transforming everyday objects and places. Absurd failure and tragicomedy play an important part in his work, as does the question of the space a sculpture occupies. Often theatrical, Sailstorfer's works also operate within the tension between such contradictory concepts as homeland and remoteness, mobility and stillness, sound and silence, or light and darkness. Destruction, recombination, and transformation are his basic compositional principles.