Jessica Stockholder: “Snug Parting”
Date: Opening May 21, 2016
Place: Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Vienna, Austria
Galerie nächst St. Stephan
We are proud to present the third solo exhibition at our gallery of the American artist Jessica Stockholder. In addition to the room-filling work Lay of the Land, we will also show several of her more recent works. Jessica Stockholder has been creating abstract and complex three-dimensional pictures that combine a broad variety of everyday objects since the 1980s. Her work is born out of artistic traditions like Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting, Pop art, and ready-mades and has continued to contribute to the dialogue between painting, sculpture, and installation. Located between the poles of pictorial effect and three-dimensional presence, her works lend meaning to the space they occupy. Stockholder selects the objects she uses based on their material and color qualities. With the trained eye of a painter, she collects buckets, flooring material, fake furs, lamps, doors, and Lego pieces and assembles these with colored ropes or chains before creating a coherent appearance through acrylic and wall paint. The end result represents a complex relationship between the illusionistic space of painting and the physical presence of sculpture — between painted reality and the reality of painting. Although the objects remind us of their use in everyday life and hence our own subjective experience, Stockholder’s works are purely formalist and abstract and therefore free from symbolic or narrative meaning. Rather, they represent a clash of different types of perception; they question our sense of reality, which we understand with the help of abstractions and systems of order. The room-filling work Lay of the Land is a bold assemblage of large drop-lights, orange shopping baskets, wooden bar stools with convex traffic mirrors attached, and an oriental rug. The mirrors, which are used to make blind spots in traffic visible, bring an additional perspective and perceptual level into the work and remind us of how Stockholder keeps the remarkable variety of elements in her works in line. Lay of the Land was originally created in 2014 for the international art exhibition “Contemporary Art & Design” in the hills around Piacenza in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. For this show, Stockholder has adapted the work to the dimensions of the first room in our gallery. On the walls and floors of the other rooms, we are presenting several other works by Stockholder that call our attention to the deluge of everyday objects, which she carefully arranges in her powerful and decidedly unsentimental compositions to appeal to our senses and worldly perception.