by Prajna Desai
by Nora N. Khan
by David Ebony
Ohio-based sculptor Matt Wedel operates on the principle of both/and rather than either/or. Joining forms typically considered disparate—flowers and rocks, humans and animals—his work radiates an ethos of interconnectedness. His latest show declared as much in its title: “Everything is everything.” In most of the thirty-five works on view, sculpture and painting converged—not a new development in the broad scheme of art history, but rarer
in the realm of ceramics, Wedel’s medium.His pedestal-mounted “Flower tree” pieces vary in size (ranging from six to sixteen inches tall) and level of exuberance, but largely adhere to a single, basic format: a blossom of white petals serves as base, vessel, and neutral canvas for a slathering of color. All is porcelain, but in radically different manifestations. The petals are modeled by hand—regular, smooth, repeated shapes in the clay’s naked state. The color-suffused clay resting atop appears suspended in a fluid, frothy condition, lathered like thick paint upon the fixed form. Each sculpture stages an encounter between solid and soft, order and improvisation. In one of the smaller examples, a tempestuous heap of grainy tar-black clay all but smothers the tender, upturned lobes. Another, similar in size, reverses the chromatic equation, its petals a Prussian blue overcome w...
On each day of the 57th Carnegie International’s run, two calligraphers sit at easels in the center of a first-floor gallery. A projector beams words onto pieces of heavy-stock paper to be traced in black ink. The artists slide their finished works into frames that line the gallery walls, replacing ones where the ink has dried; those are slipped into plastic envelopes and left on a table where visitors are welcome to take them home. The painted wo
rds are titles of works submitted to the Carnegie International from 1896 to 1931, when the exhibition was selected from responses to an open call. By the time the latest edition closes, all 10,632 rejected submissions will have been commemorated in alphabetical order in these paintings. On the day I saw the show, in mid-November, the project passed from “F” titles to “G” ones, with From an Old Fashioned Garden being written in the morning and Garden Flowers in the afternoon. The somber, lovely tracings were eagerly taken home by visitors as souvenirs....
Michael Krebber is known for understated objects and an overstated reputation. My goal in visiting his latest exhibition was not only to scrutinize the paintings but also to experience a new arc in what has been a long and stimulating narrative of cultivated persona. Past exhibitions have either been aggressive (such as “Here It Is: The Painting Machine,” at Greene Naftali in 2003), humorously restrained (like his 2008 Greene Naftali show of cut
-up surfboards), or slyly intellectual (such as when he hired a commercial sign painter to transcribe his lecture about the problems of painting over screen prints of old comic books for a trio of shows in 2007). This exhibition was lighter, freer, and even lyrical in its loose and gestural grammar.All the paintings on view were acrylic on canvas. Most used a single pinkish-cream color called Unbleached Titanium; two were rendered in a serene blue. Employing medium-size brushes and a small roller, Krebber composed spare works that leave every stroke, smear, and drip in plain sight, against a pristine white background. The minimal color only amplifies Krebber’s diverse handling of the nuanced planes of pigment, which range from sharp to splotchy, opaque to diaphanous, fluid to stippled, wispy to fat....
Sheila Pepe is a maker, as she herself puts it, but the things she makes are frequently unmade. The ephemerality and shape-shifting propensities of her art may be one reason her thirty-year career is less well known than it should be; the other is its rootedness in craft-based women’s practices. Pepe’s main medium is fiber, although as the traveling survey “Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism,” here at its final venue, testifies, she has also cr
eated mixed-medium sculptures, videos, and works on paper. Consisting of knotted and crocheted shoelaces, nautical rope, parachute cords, and yarn, among other industrial and natural materials, her most ambitious installations vault and dangle their way through spacious galleries, atria, and courtyards, and change according to the site. That these installations are sometimes fabricated with help from locals, who arrive to crochet them into existence, and deconstructed in similar fashion, with such collaborators unraveling them at the end of the exhibition run, provides an intriguing variable to the work of this artist, who has produced the pieces all over the world....