Arts Center Exhibition: Overgrown

For today’s post I wanted to share images from my latest exhibition, overgrown. I just de-installed the show last week and am experiencing post-exhibition melancholy. These objects look so much nicer in the gallery then they do stacked in my overly packed storage garage. 

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The cover of the catalog gives a good sense of the gallery space, although the  ‘They Called it mount Rockamus’ sculpture of mine (shown in the foreground) blocks much of the work behind it.

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view of wall text and small installation piece: “growth” by claire sherwood, cast cement and buttercream icing

The exhibition took place at The Arts Center of the Capitol Region and featured the work of Geoffrey Detrani, Alexis Grabowski and Myself . The exhibition received some nice press which you can read/look through here, here and here.

Amy Griffin, a freelance writer for The Times Union (Albany, NY newspaper) wrote  ” She [sherwood] upends the idea of nature taking over industrial materials. Her sculptures of rocks are covered in what looks, at a glance, like it might be mold or fungus. Moving closer, it becomes clear that these natural forms are actually being domesticated.

Green Wood Rock II: 2013, claire sherwood, cement, lace, steel

Green Wood Rock II: 2013, claire sherwood, cement, lace, steel

“Greenwood Rock II” comprises two rock formations (made of steel and concrete) covered in black lace. On each of the five plaster-and-foam rocks that make up “The Collection” is an area of carefully applied ”frosting” in little rows of stars. The “frosting” is acrylic paint, but in “Growth” she uses the real thing. In this piece, cupcake-sized growths made of frosted concrete spread across the gallery walls like a rash.

For Sherwood, the overgrowth is less literal and more metaphorical. Working out issues about prescribed notions of femininity, she “decorates” these objects to overcompensate for her perceived domestic shortcomings. This decorative impulse is disruptive, she writes, but “the overgrowth serves a specific need.”

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“Green Wood Rock 1″ 2013, claire sherwood, cement, lace and steel

For as long as I have been making work I have been speaking through my materials about (in a sense) an unforeseen struggle. In this latest body of work, it was about examining the landscape that surrounds me (whether it was topographical or limited to the interior of my home) and creating personal artifacts.  These “artifacts” are then presented, as if they were excavated, for third-party inspection.  The building of these rock forms began when I started paying attention to how obsessively my children collect rocks. (some days I think I could re-pave my driveway with the contents of my son’s pants pockets) This need to connect to the landscape, however, I believe is universal.

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The dirt, rock and debris that surround us give us clues to who we are, where we come from and how far we have traveled from our home.  By examining the surface beneath our feet, the soil under that surface, the rock buried deep with in that soil, I find comfort in the place I am currently occupying.

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The sculptures began by creating welded steel structures (some were intentionally left at this stage and simply painted)

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The larger works were then covered with hardware cloth and I then applied either a stucco cement mixture + lace or a plaster/paper pulp sculpting compound which was then painted and coated with paraffin wax.

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This large piece ‘they called it mount rockamus’ was hard to photograph and although one of my favorite new pieces-I am yet to get an image that does it any justice. The white patch on one side is an area that is decorated similarly to my smaller ‘rocks’. It is white silicone, hand piped in tiny stars with cake decorating tips/bags.

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Many times when I have a show coming down people ask me “what’s next?”  or more commonly “where does all this stuff go next?” I’m never really sure on the answer to that question. What I want to do is start creating more of the smaller rocks (like the one pictured above about 12x10x6″) and then photograph them in a more clinical manner. I’d like to then digital collage some of these images together to make a surreal, flattened out landscape/mountain form…The finished work would become the image, rather than the object itself.

This is very fresh-but it’s what happening in my studio now and where I think this work may go ‘next’.

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