Opossums Persimmons Nancy de Holl & Esther Kläs February 27 - March 27 2011
Bureau is pleased to present a two-person exhibition with the works of Nancy de Holl and Esther Kläs featuring sculpture, photography and painting. For both, representation is a fluid game of construction where objects and their surroundings share equal consideration and portrayal is actually untethered to factual representation.
A large form holds the center of the gallery. In Untitled (Come away with me), Kläs’s jagged volume in bright red aquaresin sits in contrast to its smooth rectilinear plinth. A low, interlocking pair of supports in concrete and wood seem to invite the viewer to share a seat beside the amorphous sculpture. Kläs’s work, however refuses the separation between object and support, as she is focused on the formal construction of the sculpture as a whole. As in many of her pieces, Kläs plays with the tension between domestic scale and the traditions of monumental sculpture.
Around this large piece hang a series of painted and photographic still lives by de Holl. Her photograph, Figures, Unknown from her series Peoples and Cultures shows what seem to be two small bronze figurines posed atop red display blocks and set against a red backdrop. The surroundings seem stylized and out of time, giving the figurines an air of deep, cultural significance. Like many of her photographic still lives, the whole image is in fact constructed; the central bronze pieces are as much a workof invention as the framing devices. De Holl has taken a considerable step towards mending the figure and ground together in shifting her practice to painting. Patterns and cast shadows repeat between depicted object and background. De Holl invites an uncertainty between still life and portrait. Inanimate objects like hats and books seem to take on personas as their surrounding painted environments reiterate these signals of character.
Hi!, a wall work by Kläs, asserts the frame itself as sculpture. The piece exists between flatness and three-dimensionality. The frame here is also featured as subject matter as if to complete the deconstruction of the delineation between object and support. Inside, a softly sculpted rectangle in resin repeats the geometric frame surrounding it. Wooden back, top, and bottom faced by a panel of glass suggests a conventional vitrine, however without any sides the protective purpose is usurped. Kläs’s work is, afterall, that of a sculptor, and the work is conceived as a whole, greater than the sum of its parts.
The show’s title is borrowed from a photograph by Erica Baum from her late 90’s series, ‘Frick’ photographed in the eponymous museum’s picture library.
Nancy de Holl (b. 1976, McAlester OK) lives and works in New York. She received her BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999 and her MFA in 2003 from UCLA. Solo shows include Taxter & Spengemann, NY and Priebe Gallery, Univ. of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. Group shows include Sala Peaires, Mallorca, Spain; the Aspen Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; Hudson Franklin Gallery; ‘Catawampus’ at Midway Contemporary Art and Shane Campbell, Chicago; ‘Bunch Alliance and Dissolve’, CAC, Cincinnati; Konstmuseum, Malmö; Rivington Arms, New York. Esther Kläs (b. 1981, Mainz, Germany) lives and works in New York. She studied at the Art Academy Duesseldorf completing her studies in 2007 and received an MFA Hunter College in 2010. She was the recipient of a DAAD grant in ‘09-’10. Recent exhibitions include Ballroom, Marfa, TX; ‘Knights Move’ at the Sculpture Center, New York; Esther Klaes/Elizabeth Newman, SpazioA, Pistoia Italy; Nicole Klagsbrun, New York; ‘You, and the Dance with the Tortoise’, PARKHAUS im Malkastenpark, Dusseldorf.
Interview with Nancy de Holl and Esther Kläs by Gabrielle Giattino available here