Artist: Martha Friedman
Venue: Wallspace, New York
Exhibition Title: Caught
Date: September 7 – October 20, 2012
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Wallspace, New York
“While artists as varied as Bruce Nauman, Louise Bourgeois, Rachel Whiteread and George Segal have used cast objects and figures to transfer the aura of the real to the gallery space, Friedman’s single-minded focus on casting stands out within sculpture’s expanded field. Enthralled with the animistic power of the cast object, Friedman seeks to transcend its stubborn literalism.”
– Daniel Belasco, Art in America, February 2012
Wallspace is pleased to present Caught, Martha Friedman’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. Friedman’s work draws from a range of sources, combining art historical, personal and cultural references using an idiosyncratic mixture of materials and forms.
A signature of Friedman’s work is a deep and curious exploration and reinterpretation of commonplace objects. In the past these have included waffles, rubber bands, plugs and tongues. In Caught, Friedman offers a surprising and powerful meditation on the wedge.
The wedge is a tool Friedman uses in her studio to open up molds revealing the cast forms within. In this exhibition, the wedge – a simple machine that has the potential to open up, divide, pry apart or paradoxically hold together – is represented and transformed in photographs, sculptural reliefs, and freestanding forms. The largest, and arguably most significant component of the show is a group of three, ten foot tall structures built mainly from large cement wedges that are stacked to form totemic towers that loom over the viewer. Cast in concrete and rubber, the repeating wedges marry the concept of machine with the tactility of the living.
Also included is a very large hairball resting on a pink pedestal. Made of wig hair and teased into shape, this airy, hairy sphere creates a buoyant yet foreboding counterpoint to the heavier more architectural concrete totems.
In addition to the hairball and totems, Caught includes arresting and somewhat sinister photographs of wedges securing wooden beams in a mineshaft, as well as a more casual, plinth-bound sculpture of discarded wedges, reminiscent of the detritus of industrial progress as well as the skeletal remains of a prehistoric mammal.