Some of B. Wurtz & Co.

I can understand the title “untitled (wire/green wire/purple light)” because each of these things is present in the small sculpture, but I also note light reflected off the blue plastic numeral tag (numbered 453) and a white color from the top of a plastic utensil. A crystal teardrop at the bottom is a quiet, simple grace note and as such resembles the extended wire loop reaching out from the neighboring “untitled (newspaper).”

The aluminum can in “untitled (aluminum and straw)” has the dull sheen of rare Tiffany glass, like perfumers that I used to find at swap meets – women carried these and wore them on ribbons at their neck, to sniff when dangerous scents filled the air.

I wonder for a moment whether there is some organizing principle at work based upon the familiarity of use by the maker. A pen, part of a newspaper, a ticket book, a plastic fork, all these speak both of being found and of being tools. (I almost phrased that sentence: “and of being used,” but ‘used’ has a negative connotation and does not allow for the collaborative relationship that a person might have with a tool, especially a found tool that in a sense saves one’s life.) Indeed, these materials have the presence of things held often and for long periods of time; they have been enrobed in whorls of wire and as sculptures they look as though they were made to be made, rather than observed, as though the act of making were the point, rather than the object. Looking, I can imagine a person finding these bits in the road and sidewalk, and feeling less like he or she is choosing and more as though the objects make the choice to join. I am left alone before them, wondering at my impudence – at the effrontery of my gaze.

This is my imagination, of course, for I am looking and taking pleasure in the sight – I do wish to hold these objects, to weigh their heft in my hand and feel with my skin the braces of wire, the points and smooth passages along and inside them and the found bits in their shrines – some are anthropomorphic and some are not, but all are human and take their scale from a hand.

Judith Scott’s untitled wool yarn piece has a similar presence of ‘making’ to it, while it also feels intended to be looked at, to be presented. The leg or arm-shaped object sits nicely on its plinth, unlike the Philadelphia Wireman’s objects which look trapped in their stands. It’s a matter of necessity at this point, the presentation – but I have the sense that Scott, as an artist, understands the need to show.

Just to the left of the door, as you enter, is a wall sculpture by Al Taylor, made from LDF – it might be medium density fiberboard, but the fibers look looser and so I noted low density fiberboard as the support of this sculpture. The remainder of the piece, the hanging bits, are not 2 x 4’s but perhaps 1 by’s. Their strength does not matter, they are slender and hang, perhaps lightness of being is their goal. The undersides of these dependants are a ghostly greenish white – hence the arrows in my sketch. I recall the outer edges of these struts being native wood. Or maybe not. Applied to the surface of the (bowed out) support is white P-Lam, like an old countertop. This matter of the support bowing feels vital to my experience of the sculpture. I remember with a bit of wonder looking at the hinges and the way the struts do not touch the floor, and that from the front they step, one time and again and again to the right at each hinge. I have no idea what attachment there was between the hanging parts and the support; I know only that after ten or so minutes of looking I finally noticed the way it bulged, or bowed out from the wall under the weight of its hanging parts, the painted wood. There is a decent, if small, picture of this sculpture on the Richard Telles Fine Art website. (Seeing the image, it strikes me that Taylor’s shape, especially with its shadow, has something of a ziggaurat going on, as perhaps a portal to another dimension. Nice photo. Thanks to the responsible party.)

A collage by B. Wurtz hangs to the right of Taylor’s sculpture; it is made from a supermarket advertising flyer, a large piece of paper and a hummus dip lid. It is not entirely clear from my sketch, but the flyer occupies the lower left corner and pieces clipped from it are dispersed around the remaining square footage of paper – as a visually oriented shopper or a child might make a list. The flyer may be fixed with glue stick, or a painted paste, as I imagine that I can see a clear smear around it. (I imagine a lot after staring for a while. It’s okay, no one gets hurt. I tell people when I make things up.)

Towards the upper center of the paper is a drop of orange paint that seems more than happenstance. The removed pictures of vine ripe tomatoes, Vidalia onions, cucumbers, sweet grapes, etc., are stuck on the paper in rings of orange paint. Sometimes the rings of orange surround a cleanly cut hole, one hole is cut entire with no surround and the paper from it is glued on the upper portion, the void from which the hummus lid hangs left a larger circle of paper that Wurtz glued on top of the advert flyer. All of this switching places, these holes marrying solids and the circles filled with simple, homey images, all of the mirroring that is going on, is more delightful than anything else. I wonder to myself whether the holes demarcate a constellation, perhaps one that is not familiar to me, or better (since no constellation is familiar to this city dweller), one that can be familiar to us in our consumer culture, with our longings for home and hearth, and our lack of a sky, and might be entirely alien to the ancient Greeks who named the rest of our stars.

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