A Structure to View Geological Time in Pictorial Space

Sterling Wells

Dec. 9 2012 to Jan. 31 2013

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Sterling Wells’ studio in Red Hook is filled with twisted car parts, large rocks, styrofoam pillars, tubes, pipes, water pumps, power tools, wooden structures – in one corner there is a makeshift greenhouse alive with delicate living plants.  Among other things, Sterling is a painter.  His practice often involves building miniature (or not so miniature) landscapes from which he makes beautifully painted watercolors.

For his project at A Slender Gamut, Wells has transplanted a living still life from the studio into the gallery.  Suggesting and also sabotaging the conventionally constructed illusion of forced perspective, and the meticulous arrangement of Japanese gardens, the structure indicates an ideal field of vision but also allows us to peer around the edges of the frame.  The usually hidden picture making mechanism is made transparent.  Reference, subject, and product are merged.

Early plant types – primitive ferns and mosses, like dinosaur bones, bring to mind geological time. We are presented here with a view of the present that references the past and wonders about the future- the evolution of the natural world, climate change, the progression of human behavior.  To some degree this is a celebration of relics, endangered species, though certainly not romantically displayed (or at least very aware of its own idealistic presentation.)  The specimens shown here are natural and persistent, but seem fragile and oddly out of place in this ultra-urban environment.

Link:  http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/857655/emerging-miniature-landscapes-are-painting-subjects-and

Link:  http://hyperallergic.com/63126/new-art-spaces-in-the-bushwick-area-part-1/