Of and About Wood Part II: Sculpture & Photography

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Shadowless Tree, 2002 Archival Pigment Print 12 X 15 © Chad Kleitch
Of and About Wood Part II: Sculpture & Photography
Curated by: Yoo-Jong Kim

287 Tenth Avenue - 2nd floor
Between 26th& 27th Streets
New York, NY 10001
May 1st, 2009 - June 16th, 2009

(212) 239-3330
Tue-Sat 11-6
photography, sculpture


                 W  A  L  T  E  R    R  A  N  D  E  L    G  A  L  L  E  R  Y         

Of  and About Wood: Sculpture & Photography 

Featuring contemporary sculpture by Peter Mallo & Karl Mann 

Photography by

 Lucien Clergue, Michel Delsol

Ernest Kafka, Chad Kleitsch, Adrian Panaro

MAY 1st 2009 - June 16th, 2009

WALTER RANDEL GALLERY is pleased to present Part II of our yearly combined historical contemporary exhibition: Of and About Wood: Sculpture & Photography.  Works from a myriad of world cultures covering a span of 500 years will be shown in the company of sculptures by two contemporary artists.  Contemporary and vintage photography depicting the beauty and ever-becoming rarity of this venerable material augments the scope of this show.  Sculptures of pine, mahogany, linden, fruitwood and exotic tropical hardwoods from Polynesia, Africa, Italy, Spain, China and India are included. Sculptures and photographs of the woods, forests and wood-working ateliers highlight both the preciousness of this versatile material and demonstrate the mastery required in transforming it into art.

KARL MANN was born in Chicago in 1930 and made his way to New York in the mid-1940's, where he has been working and living ever since. Robert Rindler, Dean of The Cooper Union School of Art, most astutely observed, "Karl Mann is a historian, a commentator on vernacular culture, a barometer of the times and a visionary.... There is great wonder, introspection, personal reflection and amazement in this extraordinary work, for Karl Mann and for us."  Mann has successfully rescued remnant pieces of the past, as an archeologist and as Suzi Gablik points out, he has become a hunter-gatherer of the modern day world.  Through his works, he creates his memories rather than recalling them; he invents his histories in lieu of recounting them.  Eye of the Tiger, (2000) an assemblage wall sculpture is a highlight of the exhibition.  John Yau wrote, "Mann doesn't transpose things from one context to another.  He is ironic, but not cynical.  Lightheartedness and a sense of the absurd offset the levity of his work, its atmosphere of unavoidable loss and unrelenting despair."  Eye of the Tiger is composed of Japanese lacquered wood panels, a wooden tool-box, surmounted by a plastic tiger and a doll of a heroic Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The sculpture is made "holy" with not one but two halos and embellished with floral decorations.  The title of the work refers to its maker-an autodidact, an individualist artist of our intense times, a hunter who strives to integrate found art objects as well as the utilitarian to create in the only way that he can, with no teachers and by and of and for himself.

MICHEL DELSOL is a photographic artist living in New York and working world-wide, whose published work of the legendary Kabuki troupe of Nakamura Kanzaburo has met with great acclaim both in the US and Japan.  A dynamic and truly versatile photographer, he is currently at work on a provocative and sexually explicit trans-gender project.  Delsol has achieved notoriety as a renowned portraitist of writers and artists of our times.  In this very personal part of his oeuvre, Delsol's Trees Series is the nexus of his philosophical investigation into semiotics and of his spiritual connection to the natural world.  "The inspiration for this series does not come from any particular tree, but comes from the walks in the forest.  It is a meditation and practice on the relativity of and within time." These images from the 1990's are taken on black and white film and printed traditionally in the darkroom.                                                                                                  

LUCIEN CLERGUE the legendary French photographer, who started his career as the protégée of Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau as the visual chronicler of their lives and creative works, presents vintage prints from his vast oeuvre.  Primarily known in America for his famous images of Picasso and Cocteau as well as his prolific portfolio of nudes, Clergue has never stopped re-inventing himself and developing the scope of his oeuvre.  Mr. Clergue has had one-man shows at New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, and has exhibited his work at the Musée Picasso in Paris.  He is the founder of the important festival Rencontre Internationale de la Photographie and was inducted into the prestigious Académie des Beaux Arts as the first photographer ever to be recognized as a fine artist in 2007.  The country that produced Nadar and Daguerre and was home to influential expatriates such as Man Ray and Brassaї selected Lucien Clergue as the photographer to receive this honor.  Vintage prints of the woods of Kyoto, New York and the Camargue, the region of his beloved home Arles, will be exhibited.

ERNEST KAFKA, a New York photographer, is an enthusiastic collector of art from medieval times to the present.  Recently, he found himself admiring the folk-art carvers of Oaxaca Mexico, where he began to take trips to the informal ateliers of the multi-generational carvers who work in family and communal collectives. His photographs, Workshop and Ramirez and Iguana provide a sober and respectful account at the long-standing tradition of folk-art carving of this region.  In contrast, his images of the trees and forest of Vermont and Garrison, New York, familiar places which have been part of his life for decades, provide in his words, "a glimpse into a paradoxical beauty-- a gloom, a sense of life as well as old age and death....inspiring and also ominous-- depending on the light, the snow and the perspective of the viewer."

CHAD KLEITSCH is a photographer who is accomplished in both artistic and editorial work.  His recent projects have included photographing the Rothko Chapel in Houston founded by John and Dominique de Menil.  A graduate of Bard College, teaching at the Center for Photography in Woodstock affords him the opportunity to live and do personal work with the natural world around him.  His Botanical Scans of both flowers and leaves, as well as this photograph, Shadowless Tree 01, (2002) attest to his success in combining nature with technology.  He is also developing his Works on Paper Scan series from the archives of the New York Public Library.  Shadowless Tree 01 and 02, are post-modern visual renderings of Ombra mai fu, the most hopeful of words metaphorically and literally about trees set to music by Handel in Xerxes.  Kleitsch augments this text to an extreme level as only he can conceptualize and execute it with flashes in the middle of the night: a surreal act of reinforcement resulting in a poetic image.

ADRIAN PANARO has documented some of the most celebrated visual artists, actors and musical talents of 20th and 21st centuries with this photographic work.  Having started his career at a very young age, his portraits include those of Andy Warhol, Nina Hagen, Dennis Hopper, Andre Kertesz and his late employer-mentor, Richard Avedon.  His current personal project Signs and Demeanors marks a vivid return to street photography capturing the American visual cacophony of bill boards and advertising.  Panaro's lens aggrandizes the commonplace and elevates the quotidian to mythic stature. Not surprisingly, the very same can be said of his selection of photographs of the trees and natural environs of Corrales, New Mexico, they are intimate and personal while grand and majestic.

PETER MALLO, an American artist born in 1979 returns to Walter Randel Gallery in this group show after his inaugural solo exhibition last Fall which was met with great critical acclaim and selected by the New York Sun's art desk as the "Sculpture Exhibition Pick of the Fall 2008 Season."  His work Pendant (2009), meticulously crafted of laminated Honduran mahogany, polished steel, carbon pigment and brass chain was commissioned for this exhibition.  The Heraclitian concept of the unity of opposites is made visually manifest while the void and the material, the empty and the filled are integrated into one pendant whole.  The world as it is, and the far-reaching poles of the human spirit as well, are embodied in this rigorous yet fluid work of great elegance and refinement.

Gallery Hours: Tuesdays - Saturdays 11:00 AM - 6:00PM

Contact: Yoo-Jong Kim or Walter Randel.

Additional images available upon request to Alicia Mazurek: 

287 TENTH AVENUE -2nd Floor  (Between 26th & 27th Streets) NY, NY 10001

 T.  212.239.3330     |  212. 239.3363 F.