41 Orchard Steet
East Village / Lower East Side
September 9 - October 21, 2012
Reception: Sunday, September 9, 6 - 8 PM
For his debut solo exhibition, G. William Webb has crafted forms in wood, bronze, marble, porcelain and stainless steel. Each work is suffused with the presence of the artist’s hand, and is an investigation into the mutability of matter. Each is a study in the contemporary condition of sculpture, and an interrogation of the medium’s chief characteristics: its anthropomorphism, its stasis, its monumentality, its inalienable romanticism.
In the same room where the surface of An Exit 2012, a three- hundred pound tablet of white marble, is softened by superfine wet-sanding, a single speaker plays a sound loop of the artist’s voice. The juxtaposition of this muted marble surface and the murmurs of a sound that has no discernible meaning is subtle, even strange. The presence of the marble dust acts as a fine gauze veil masking a portal in the wall. Tank 2012, a 7′ hollow cast tube made entirely from glycerin soap, evokes the shape of a nearby metal column that supports the gallery ceiling.
Locus 2012, a work in the gallery’s window is both a seamlessly minimal presentation, and a marvel of installation- based improvisation. From outside the gallery the work appears to be a continuously mirrored surface interrupted only by the mullions of the window bays. Situated at eye-level, the metal planes reflect the bustle of Orchard Street. The magic of the mirror’s construction is revealed upon entering the gallery and peering up into the window space: three sheets of highly polished chrome-alloy steel are pressed against the surface of the window glass, each held in place with a single bottle jack, a device used to hydraulically hoist a car during a roadside emergency.
As the viewer ascends into the upper gallery Extension (Suspension) 2012, a bronze top hat appears on the ceiling above the main door. Upon further inspection its form seems inexplicably compressed as if the memory of a crushed felt hat was inopportunely fixed into a rigid shape. At the center of the gallery is a porcelain ring titled Overtakelessness 2012. The scale of the sculpture was determined by the size of the kiln in which it was fired. Webb finished its surface with white pastel further subduing its matte skin, dissolving the boundary between the sculpture and its surroundings.
Mounted flush to the North wall is the wooden plane of Vacuum 2012. Identical in scale to the marble tablet of An Exit on the floor below, both sculptures abut the ceiling of the gallery and appear to be levitating. Jeweler-polished steel pins pierce Vacuum and support its load. Though on separate levels of the gallery, the pattern of the pins upstairs echo the circular speaker adjacent to An Exit downstairs.
G. William Webb was born in Davenport, Iowa. The son of a professional racecar driver, the artist grew up immersed in the day-to-day operations of a garage. In addition to sculpture, Webb also makes photography and film. He recently received his MFA from NYU. This summer Webb was included in “Creature From the Blue Lagoon” curated by Bob Nickas. In October 2012 he will begin a year-long artist fellowship at La Sorbonne in Paris, France.