Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce Threshold Space, a solo exhibition of works by Gehard Demetz. This will be Demetz's first exhibition with the gallery and will include impeccably crafted wood and bronze sculptures, as well as wall reliefs depicting children acting out adult issues with a command and presence far beyond their age.
Using the vocabulary and materials of traditional woodcarving, Demetz investigates contemporary culture and its destructive tendency, not simply through the antics of children, but through the larger forces of war, religion, and politics. His work explores this delicate dichotomy between child-like innocence and blind, naïve malice. The child's perceived malevolence is characterized by numb, often blank facial expressions that confront the viewer. Kristen Nordahl writes, "They examine everything very carefully, scrutinize adult motivations and tend to take a critical view of world affairs. They play with fire, probing the boundaries of their own power. They walk a fine line between being a child and becoming an adult, between unconscious action and conscious behavior, between playful innocence and painful awakening."
Demetz's sculptures are carved from modular pieces of wood combined into a single form. In some cases, Demetz casts these sculptures in bronze. Spaces are left empty within these hyper realistic figures, forming abstract geometric incisions and protrusions, an active negative space. Both formally and conceptually the contradictions are strong between, the unity and multiplicity of the sculptures, the traditional practice and the contemporary subjects, the sacred and the profane, and innocence and the loss thereof.
Demetz's wall reliefs take the artist's familiar tropes and open them up to a flatter and more abstracted plane. Continuing to use bronze and wood, the works move from the centralized subject to a wider exploration of the surface, texture and object.
Demetz lives and works in his native Italy. Recent solo exhibitions include Gerhard Demetz at the Palacio de Pimentel, Spain; Mutterland, l'età estranea at the Fondazione Mimmo Rotella, Italy and Gehard Demetz: Skulpturen, at the Kunstverein Villa Wessel, Germany. In 2007 Demetz was a recipient of the Richard Agreiter prize for sculpture.