Thursday, March 10, 2005

Carolyn Ottmers • Detail of Cloudland • 2003 • nickel plated cast bronze • 11 x 16 x 12 inches

But back to the exhibition, it is fairly traditional, Brown with paintings and Ottmers with sculpture. I like the plant theme. Everyone is tired of waiting for spring, so it’s already on our minds. Flora is also a simple, time-honored subject. I think focusing on a single, clear idea, gesture, or subject, is a very good thing artists to do right now. And these artists are doing this. They are taking a simple subject and doing something very straightforward and clear with it; but also very interesting and complete.

Ottmers’ giant weeds made of cast metal are cool. A rocky landscape from which they sprout is suggested by smile piles of stones at their bases. They looked wet, like they had been watered. They were installed in the main room, spread out enough to give each one space, but close enough so that an immersive environment was created. There were also curled up, rusted leaves cast in iron. They were raw and powdery, by looking at them I could feel them crumbling in my hands, like leaves in the fall. My only issue with them is that they had road maps incised into them. Where the hell did that come from? I know the veins on leaves are like highways, but it just seemed unnecessary.

Large shadows were cast on the stark white walls, creating intricate abstract images. This was another highlight of the installation. The gleaming metal, the bright lights, the shadows and the dusty rusty leaves, it was all very tactile.

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