Sue Scott Gallery

“A Room, In Three Movements”

Naomi Fry, February 2011

This exhibition is pleasing not just for the freshness of the individual works on view but for the rare cogency of its aims and ambience as well. Over the course of the show’s run, the sculptures in the gallery––made by Katy Heinlein, Sheila Pepe, and Halsey Rodman––will be moved three times by the artists, changing their places and spatial relationships to one another. Even before any relocation has taken place, however, the fluidity, playfulness, and interdependence of seemingly discrete objects that the projected plan emphasizes can already be found in the works themselves.

Pepe’s woven sculpture A Mutable Thing (all works cited, 2011), with its carefully crafted but slightly derelict air, gathers together sparkly metallic thread along with tan, plastic-tipped shoelaces and occasional swathes of gray linen. An outsize Charlotte weaving her web, Pepe creates a hodgepodge fabric in which the workaday and the refined engage each other.

Rodman’s The Wolves from Three Angles forms a partition whose elements are all multiplied three times, as if answering to some curious internal logic. Though at first glance the piece seems one-sided, a stroll around it reveals its “backstage” area, where three similar shelving units house three abstract drawings. This is a near-literal cabinet of curiosities, and the thinly applied, gestural brushwork with which the structure’s components are painted works in service of one wackily gorgeous color scheme.

Like Rodman, Heinlein employs the language of stage sets in Natural Fall, though her scale is different––model- rather than life-size. This precariously constructed soft sculpture––made out of fabric, fringe, and a very minimal wooden frame––works like a sketch come to life. With its ad hoc outline, it draws attention to the landscape it delineates (mountains, skyline) but also to the graceful equilibrium between objects that makes its provisional existence possible.

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