"While artists as varied as Bruce Nauman, Louise Bourgeois, Rachel
Whiteread and George Segal have used cast objects and figures to transfer the
aura of the real to the gallery space, Friedman’s single-minded focus on
casting stands out within sculpture’s expanded field. Enthralled with the
animistic power of the cast object, Friedman seeks to transcend its stubborn
- Daniel Belasco, Art in America, February 2012
Wallspace is pleased to present Caught, Martha Friedman’s third solo
exhibition at the gallery. Friedman’s work draws from a range of sources,
combining art historical, personal and cultural references using an
idiosyncratic mixture of materials and forms.
A signature of Friedman’s work is a deep and curious exploration and
reinterpretation of commonplace objects. In the past these have included
waffles, rubber bands, plugs and tongues. In Caught, Friedman offers a
surprising and powerful meditation on the wedge.
The wedge is a tool Friedman uses in her studio to open up molds revealing the
cast forms within. In this exhibition, the wedge - a simple machine that has
the potential to open up, divide, pry apart or paradoxically hold together -
is represented and transformed in photographs, sculptural reliefs, and
freestanding forms. The largest, and arguably most significant component of
the show is a group of three, ten foot tall structures built mainly from large
cement wedges that are stacked to form totemic towers that loom over the
viewer. Cast in concrete and rubber, the repeating wedges marry the concept of
machine with the tactility of the living.
Also included is a very large hairball resting on a pink pedestal. Made of
wig hair and teased into shape, this airy, hairy sphere creates a buoyant yet
foreboding counterpoint to the heavier more architectural concrete totems.
In addition to the hairball and totems, Caught includes arresting and somewhat
sinister photographs of wedges securing wooden beams in a mineshaft, as well
as a more casual, plinth-bound sculpture of discarded wedges, reminiscent of
the detritus of industrial progress as well as the skeletal remains of a
Martha Friedman was born in 1975 in Detroit, Michigan and lives and works in
Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of
Chicago (1998) and an MFA from Yale University School of Art (2003). Solo
exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI
(2010); DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA (2010); Shane
Campbell Gallery, Chicago (2010); Wallspace, New York, NY (2009, 2007). Select
group exhibitions include Flights From Wonder, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts
Forum (2012); New York Minute—organized by Kathy Grayson, The Garage Center
for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2009); The Station—curated by Nate Lowman
and Shamim M. Momim, Miami, FL (2008); Bunch, Alliance and Dissolve,
Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH (2007).