Close To You: Fritz Buehner, Robin Dash, Georgia Metz, Carrie Moyer, Sheila Pepe, Diana Puntar

click for an Introduction by Sheila Pepe

Herald Review of "Close To You" by Mary Sherman


September 17 - October 16, 1999

Fritz Buehner's wood carvings of tiny houses atop large logs is a part of a continuing series of work on the theme of displacement and isolation. A reference to the soon to be suburban neighborhood where he was raised, the pieces reflect his "unrelenting (dis)ease and dread" of his community. Buehner expresses an " overt sentiment for nature and the politics of ecology" that literally connects his sculpture to the raw materials out of which they are carved.

Robin Dash approaches each painting as an installation. Establishing the background or "setting the stage" comes first, then the artist waits to see what happens or does not happen. "Her inquiry into the creative process is unabashedly female-centered with soft contours, hollowed volumes, and cursive ideographs hovering in stage-like realms that suggest an experience of interior and exterior space"1

Georgia Metz often begins a project from "the position of having been seduced, having encountered a material in the world and become fascinated by whatever specific or generalized meaning the material connotes for [her]." Metz states, "The recuperative function of the objects is meant to resurrect a failed and debased system by using benevolence and vulnerability in restorative ways... I attempt to make work that convinces the viewer that the risk of desire is well taken, regardless of the potential disorderliness or embarrassment of the outcome."

Carrie Moyer responds to growing up with hippie parents with layers of contradictory icons of different ideologies, patterns, images and styles that result in an overload of evocative feelings that parallel" the psychedelic disconnect inherent to the countercultural moment." Peace signs and lotuses, Indian print patterns and lesbians with rifles are a few of the cross-cultural appropriations that wash across these idiosyncratic, dynamic works. Moyer grounds her work in a belief that "From Manifest Destiny to women's land, the counterculture of the sixties comes from a long American tradition of individualism."

Sheila Pepe, organizer of the exhibit, responds to each environment with an installation that is both gentle and insistent. Sometimes drawing in space with webbing stretches of grey rubber bands, other times reacting to imperfections or cast shadows on the walls, Pepe creates quirky, surrealist inspired, drawings or patterns that collaborate with the room itself to become body parts, animals or geometric shapes. The act of artistic inspiration, that delicate unpredictable moment, becomes somehow visible as the eye traces shadows, pencil lines and dangling ganglia to see where the room ends and the artwork begins.

click for video of Sheila Pepe's installation

Diana Puntar's sculptural installations "infuse a Minimalistic aesthetic with tawdry materials such as Naugahide and wood paneling to create objects of ambiguous function--like furniture that is both generic and idiosyncratic, utilitarian and fetishistic."2 Puntar reevaluates nostalgia for 60's and 70's aesthetics with formal references that blur the high and low categories of quality and art.

1. Donna Desrochers, The Brandeis Reporter. Feb. 9,1999
2. Lia Gangitano, Transience and Sentimentality. exhibition catalog. ICA, Boston


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