My recent work involves the literal collapse of three-dimensional objects and structures into the picture plane. These found, utilitarian objects are deconstructed and cut into sometimes hundreds of abstract fragments before being reassembled two-dimensionally. The negative space is filled with carefully fitted pieces of painted wood, creating a solid plane in which the object is trapped in a parody of its former perspective. Through this dialogue between the deconstruction of the object and the construction of form, I am able to create works that are picture, relief and object in one.
The humble, quotidian objects that I work with are easy to miss in spatial continuity with the surrounding world. This is particularly true of utilitarian objects that are ubiquitous to the point of invisibility and often seen as possessing little or no intrinsic value. There are many reasons why art objects are perceived differently, not the least of which is that we are able to observe them in the vacuum of the museum or gallery. I’ve found that the picture plane, acting as an autonomous coordinate, is capable of performing a similar function by incorporating actual objects. When a pallet, for example, is incorporated into the picture, we come to see it, not as an eyesore or an obstacle that has to be navigated around, but as an actual object of aesthetic interest.
My work deals with the relationship between mind and reality in a different way than a lot of representational art. The pallet, which was once part of the physical, three-dimensional world, suddenly becomes autonomous from the rest of space. The now planar but still concrete object is somehow more remote and closer at the same time. By unifying the picture plane and the spatial environment, I’m trying to reconcile the dichotomy between pictorial and physical space, art and object, sculpture and painting. Sculpture has been defined as a three-dimensional object in space. These are three-dimensional objects in two-dimensional space and although they find themselves trapped, unable to perform their original functions, my hope is that they become more active and productive on the level of our experience.
Michael Zelehoski received his Associates of Art degree from Bard College at Simon’s Rock and a BA from the Universidad Finis Terrae, in Santiago, Chile. Michael’s return to the United States after six years in South America coincided with the literal collapse of his early sculptural work into the two-dimensional picture plane. His work currently explores the duality between three-dimensional reality and the two-dimensional representation of real life objects and structures. He has exhibited nationally and internationally including a recent solo show at Volta New York and a large-scale installation for the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art’s biennial Peekskill Project. He has received various grants and awards for his work including a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship and Artslant’s Golden Frame Award.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2013 Ethan Cohen, VOLTA, New York, NY
2012 DODGE Gallery, New York, NY
2011 Sanford Smith Fine Art, Great Barrington, MA
2010 Christina Ray Gallery, Pulse, Miami, FL
Christina Ray Gallery, New York, NY
2009 Ferrin Gallery, Pittsfield, MA
2008 Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA
Park Row Gallery, Chatham, NY
2007 Kasten Fine Art, Great Barrington, MA
2005 Kasten Fine Art, Great Barrington, MA
North American Cultural Institute, Santiago de Chile
2004 La Nacion, Santiago de Chile