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This exhibition is comprised of three-dimensional works that vary in material construction but share a unique feature: they are anchored to a wall. By and large art categorized as sculpture is conventionally exhibited as islands sprouting from the gallery floor, elevated on a pedestal. This allows for a meandering crowd to view the work from all sides.
The pieces in Off the Wall abandon this convention. The uncommon display of three-dimensional works solely supported by the walls and the ceiling, versus the floor, prompts the viewer to engage with sculpture in a different way, requiring closer attention to determine how each piece expresses its sculptural nature.
Three-dimensional objects that are displayed on a surface away from the floor have a reaching quality. The works project outward, an atypical experience of art commonly displayed on walls. It is this uncharacteristic appearance that is the hallmark of the show’s unique visual dialogue.
Mark Pomilio’s Bi Fold IX, made of charcoal on paper and mounted to silk, is an example of how a large sculptural piece (approximately 5 feet square) mounted to a wall can take on surprising lilt and movement. The layered geometry of the charcoal lines against the light colored silk creates an organic texture that takes on a cellular appearance.
Denise Yaghmourian has two pieces displayed as one suspended from the ceiling of the gallery. Native and Bird Becomes the Cage are constructed of goose feathers and plastic zip ties, creating looped, spindly textures. The position of these pieces, with one closer to the support of the ceiling and the other pulling downward, offers the opportunity to assess visual mass, a concept that cannot be explored as readily with works grounded to the floor.
The juxtaposition of these two pieces expresses a tension that exists in conceptions of sculptural form in terms of their weight. The work plays on illusions of the eye; reason states the two works should have the same weight and thus be equally “sculptural” in that they are the constructed with the same light materials. Despite this fact, the black piece appears denser with its position near the floor. At eye level, it disorients the eye.
Devorah Sperber’s After Mona Lisa 2 utilizes sculptural form to further investigate the tension between the eye and unconventional displays of three-dimensional images. From a distance it is clear that the approximately 7 by 7 foot image is a pixilated reproduction of the Mona Lisa displayed upside down, with her head to the floor. A clear acrylic viewing sphere, placed 6 feet from the surface of the piece acts as a human eye, flipping the image by 180 degrees and producing the face of the Mona Lisa unified and smooth.
Off the Wall is a captivating exhibition that is both thought-provoking and disarmingly playful. A feast for the eyes, the varied textures of the selected works, which range from steel to feathers, wood to gummy resin, draw viewers close to the wall to reveal that the works, in turn, are reaching out to them.