Waxworks – D. Dominick Lombardi
“Wax Works” brings together a brief, albeit multifaceted, survey of wax-based art. Most compelling are the two works of Michael Zansky. His art, which is beyond sense or sensibility, exists as bold hyperextensions of his subconsciousness. In The Nature of Matter and Beyond the Standard Matter, Zansky gouges and paints, adding convulsing forms that bob and weave through space and thought like acid through butter. Who knows what he is thinking at the time of execution, but it ain’t normal.
Then, nearby, are the quiet, brilliant, meditative works of Robert Ryman who fulfills our every wish. Robert Gober’s high-test Untitled Candle features a rectangular wax base dotted with jet black hairs that form a platform for a large, unlighted candle. This phallic reference here rides the fence between force and failure since it is upright and unlit, making a most memorable statement about the male libido.
Then there is Jasper John’s Untitled. A vintage vignette that has many of his substantive motifs, including the Savarin coffee can filled with brushes and crossing line patterns—it is both dark and enlightening. Michelle Stuart addresses the orderliness of nature, which may be a comment on genetic design and the struggles one is up against when trying to beat nature. Sheila Berger’s large, vertical work Between Death and Birth pits minimal fields of violet dotted with red blotches and line-etched floral patterns. The slowly forming fields remind one of memory—veils which can change actual events in one’s mind.
Leslie Giuliani offers a series of how design forms functionality and comfort by representing a simple black chair that adds a bit of humor to the show. James Meyer goes two or three steps further down that road in his two comical, yet confounding works of domesticity and folly. Petah Coyne’s small, delicate, Rococo-ish, wax female hand which comes directly out from the wall suggests a kind of ghostly divinity that will intrude into one’s subconscious rather quickly, while Gail Gregg’s color/wax coated everyday functionally formed packaging points to the underlying Modernist tendencies of their design.
Laura Moriarty shows us the flexibility and strength of the media by creating these “spy-chedelic” gobs of numerous colored layers of poured wax that can be viewed through their cross-sectioned layers. Nash Hyon’s six works, which are five too many, address the elements of nature. I just wish she had only the one work, The Elements #7 (Nitrogen) since it is the only piece that is poetic and grounded.
A wonderfully memorable show curated by Helen Klisser During that is well worth seeing again and again.