Marlborough Chelsea is pleased to present The Wall a group exhibition featuring Sebastian Black, David Brooks, Ara Dymond, Sam Falls, Brendan Lynch, Anna Plesset, Davina Semo, Clive Smith, April 4 – May 4, 2013.
The Wall brings together a group of works that acknowledge and contend directly with the conventions of gallery architecture by breaching, puncturing, picturing, mapping and sculpting from the uprights of the near-sacred and truly ubiquitous white cube.
In a typical exhibition, the strange, endlessly repairable skin of sheetrock is spackled and skimcoated to perfection each month, its flat-white, pebbled orange peel surface becoming the unheralded and invisible support for art. The Wall features paintings, sculptures and installation pieces that honor the material presence of these surfaces, forcing the gallery itself into service as an element of the work, elevating the stage to star player.
With these works, the simple and instructive qualities of white paint are brought into focus, reminding us that the gallery is, in a manner of speaking, a perpetual monochrome over which all manner of exhibitions are hung. Clive Smith’s oil painting of a whitewashed brick wall becomes, paradoxically, an exhaustively rendered abstraction forcing a viewer to acknowledge each deliberate flick of the brush as with a Robert Ryman. Reversing this effect, Sebastian Black’s sly allusion to an arthandler’s craft, through the use of subtly tinted patches of spackling over deliberately positioned holes, creates a new work from the labor pentimenti of countless exhibitions that have come before.
Brendan Lynch contributes a shoreline of brightly-hued pigment dust that laps at the wall from the floor. Apparently sanded from the wall, this work draws our attention to the intersection of the support for works of art and the ground on which a viewer stands, and appears simultaneously as an act of vandalism and the aftereffect of its removal.
Anna Plesset’s painting suggests similarly nefarious origins. Made directly on the wall at another gallery, the work has been cut out from the sheetrock, like smash-and- grab stolen art, and fastened to the wall of Marlborough Chelsea, forcefully appropriated and recontextualized for this show. Similarly, Sam Falls’ romantic and reverential rubbings made directly from his studio walls, lovingly acknowledge the structure and take the artist’s studio as their quite literal subject, and are transplanted here as proto-photographic image-maps.
Sculptors Davina Semo and Ara Dymond both breach the surface of the wallboard, inlaying and insetting steel and stone and thereby creating apertures, orifices and portals (in Semo’s case) and material hybrids that meld and equate matter of starkly different density and heft (in Dymond’s).
Another sculptor, David Brooks, gives us an extreme form of this interface by constructing from scratch his own wall and infusing it with incongruous objects. The embedded objects emphasize nature in quite literal collision with the built environment. Brooks’ sculpture impedes our easy entrance to the exhibition, forcing a physical experience and relationship to architecture that, like the walls themselves, is often erased within the gallery.