dm contemporary is pleased to present (in)grained, a group exhibition featuring the work of Richard Bottwin, Kate Carr, Colin Chase, Lita Kelmenson, and Courtney Smith. The exhibition opens on Friday, September 26th and remains on view through November 8th, 2014.
The five artists exhibited, work primarily with wood as their medium, embracing its qualities and conquering its challenges. Constructing, deconstructing, and transforming this simple basic material, that is familiar to all of us, into sculptural works that are imaginative, wonderfully surprising and varied. The works are not just made out of wood, but are also about wood. The techniques used by the artists range from traditional woodworking techniques to inventive ones particular to each artist's concepts and practice. The sculptures in this exhibition celebrate wood - one of the oldest materials known and used by man, bestow reverence to its long history - especially the innovative contributions of modernist furniture designers, and they affirm the continued appeal of the material and its relevance in contemporary art today.
Richard Bottwin's abstract, geometric, and architecturally or object inspired wall sculptures are minimal, playful, and characterized by the lavish use of the material. The simple forms are flawlessly constructed out of plywood and hardwood slabs that are laminated with exotic wood veneers, and juxtaposed against brightly painted ones. In more recent work, the materiality of wood is supreme, as the wood is left raw or lightly stained - with unusual stain colors - to reveal and emphasize the natural grain.
Kate Carr uses simple and familiar materials, mainly plywood and felt that are overlooked in everyday life, to create sculptures that reveal the qualities of these materials in fresh and unusual ways. . Cutting, stacking, and inlaying, she contrasts hard with soft, textured with smooth, neutral with brightly colored. Employing an abstract visual vocabulary, she allows the tactility of her materials to inspire and guide her approach.
Colin Chase has worked with found, reclaimed, recycled, salvaged wood, tree trunks, as well as industrial planks and plywood, over the years, and has created installations as well as free-standing and wall sculptures. The five wall sculptures in this exhibition have a square format, and were created from many smaller parts that sometimes connect, and other times overlap, forming visual rhythmic patterns that repeat then suddenly change in a jazzy kind of way. The wood grain adds complexity to the pattern in the three unpainted panels, whereas color and contrast is used in the two other panels to play up the pattern.
Lita Kelmenson's process involves transforming solid, thick wood planks into curved sections that are sanded to a smooth finish and connected to form a long, continuous, winding sculptural form more akin to a ball of twine - bringing out yet another quality of the material: the versatility of wood. Kelmenson's works make statements about the issues and entanglements in our contemporary political and social worlds.
Courtney Smith's sculptures are conceptual interpretations inspired by architecture and the idea of furniture. She constructs her work by physically or metaphorically deconstructing, fragmenting, and then re-assembling an object or the idea of an object, giving the viewer a new way to consider that original object - or the idea behind it, then confers the new abstract object the name of a familiar object. Over the years Smith's sculptures have evolved, yet they have always revolved around the idea of a movable element - furniture. According to the artist: "My mimetic furniture strives for functionality but naturally falls short. I use these semi-fictional / semi-functional objects to perform a spatial syntax, fitting them together in multiple configurations to construct interior spaces, always betraying psychological intent. The same operations I perform in space I perform in language.