Wexler Gallery presents Elemental: Nature Reinterpreted, an exhibition exploring the give-and-take dynamic of how natural forms and materials influence art.
Endangered Species, by Heather Ujiie
In literal or conceptual representations, each artist featured in this exhibition begins with nature as the source. Put through the filter of their creative vision and their physical and digital tools, the resulting artwork is a reinterpretation of the timeless and ever-changing elements of nature.
A preview of the artists and their featured works, include:
Heather Ujiie creates large-scale textile installations depicting allegorical narratives. Combining craft and technology, she converts hand painted images into digital form and uses them to build sprawling collages of natural, mythological, and fantastical worlds rich in lush and intriguing detail.
Contemporary designers Eric Slayton, Sharon Sides, and Gregory Nangle all work with metal, achieving vastly different results with varying techniques. Slayton’s Gravity series is made of steel plates reclaimed from post-industrial sites. The structures are fit together through highly precise joints and rely on the weight of the materials and the pull of the earth to hold together, rather than seams or screws. Sides creates tables with tree ring designs acid-etched onto the top surface. The convincingly detailed patterns are developed by computer models of natural forms. Nangle’s more abstract designs emerge from the process of his studio practice pouring and casting bronze and glass. Best described as “Embellished Minimalism”, Nangle’s style combines the purity of geometry with the grittiness of reality. His hands-on approach to design seeks to embrace this relationship between the preplanned and the impulsive; the flawless and the unintentional; the intellectual and the expressive.
The substantial vessels of glass artist Joel Philip Myers, with their many vibrant layers of color and texture, evoke a flower garden in full bloom without incorporating literal floral imagery. Judy Kensley McKie’s distinctive sculptural furniture in bronze and wood incorporates animal forms and plant motifs in her signature simplified and primitive style.
There is a kinship and a contrast between the sculptural works of Louise Nevelson and David Nash. Both are made of darkened wood. Nash’s Black and Crack Sheaves are more naturally shaped and are darkened through a charring process while Nevelson’s Untitled assemblage is made of industrial found objects covered in a layer of black paint.
A decidedly lighter yet more formal aspect is at play in the Twelve Leaf Table by Michael Hurwitz, a masterpiece of craftsmanship utilizing bent wood and cast resin in a perfectly symmetrical — even mathematical — design that nonetheless is an expression of nature in both material and form. Peter Pincus uses porcelain to create graphical, three-dimensional paintings that belie the material’s origin. His colorful geometric cylinders and vessels reimagine the rainbow in matte pixels with muted neutrals.
Reynold Rodriguez uses natural elements in two contrasting limited editions: his playful anthropomorphic and biomorphic gypsum plaster lamps and chairs, and his solid charred reclaimed wood seating. Trish DeMasi’s ceramic sculptures are clearly inspired by nature, but she pushes past the obvious visual sources until the forms become mysterious, otherworldly, and new. The Pillars of Meerschaum lighting collection by Feyza Kemahlioglu incorporates the soft white clay of her native Turkey — carved into intricate, often floral, patterns — with hand-blown glass.
Elemental will be on view in the Wexler Gallery showroom, suite 413, at the New York Design Center through June 25. View the exhibition catalog via Artsy here.
For more information or to make an appointment, call 646-293-6603 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Wexler Gallery at NYDC is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 10am-5pm or by appointment.
Gravity Chair by Eric Slayton
Lean Coffee Table by Sharon Sides
Lowback Leaf Dining Chair by Gregory Nangle
Blue 3 by Joel Philip Myers
Horse Side Table by Judy Kinsley McKie
Untitled by Louise Nevelson
Black and Crack Sheaves by David Nash
Twelve Leaf Table by Michael Hurwitz
K Chair by Reynold Rodriguez
Sculpture (II) by Trish DeMasi
The Many Few Project Three by Peter Pincus
The Pillars of Meerschaum Lighting Collection by Feyza Kemahlioglu