In Stack, Jim Osman’s second solo exhibition at Lesley Heller Workspace, wood scraps – literally castoffs from the working process – rise vertically and with a casualness that disappears on closer view. Wood, either sanded smooth or retaining the splintery surface of the natural world, mixes with paint and a surprising palette of laminated paper. Some pieces are small enough to be contained in your hand, but have the complete logic of a sculpture. While the largest, “Compass,” hovers in its own space.
The new work began when Osman was in one of those in between moments in the studio. He looked at this field of colored shapes and started to stack them, the goal being to make them stand on their own. The beauty and logic of the forms grew naturally, as he applied counterweights, cantilevers and simple joinery, allowing for a range of relationships to build. While Osman has worked horizontally, where shapes had a conversation more like landscape, the verticality of the new work allows the pieces to express how they were built and stand up in an honest, direct way.
Jim Osman lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He is an assistant professor and director of the Foundation Program at Parsons The New School. Osman has had residencies at The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo and received grants from Parsons and the Brooklyn Arts Council