Installation artwork by Abbie Read and Jessica Straus in the VanDernoot Gallery.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
University Hall1815 Massachusetts AvenueCambridge, MA
DIY Tote Jessica Straus
The pairing of Jessica Straus’s and Abbie Read’s sculpture has strong visual and conceptual affinity. It is immediately evident that both artists share a passion for the hand wrought, labor intensive process. Far from producing traditional craft with their artisanal techniques, each artist presents evocative abstract forms. Their shared aesthetic is a provocative marrying of the old and familiar with the new and enigmatic.
An important conversation between the work of Straus and Read exists in their use of similar raw materials. At the heart of these two bodies of work is their common use of books as raw material. Both artists remove books from their traditional role as reading and research material in the construction of new works.
READ - Obelisk Abbie Read
Straus has integrated the Boston Yellow Pages and computer manuals, cut and splayed into hemispheres, with her carved and painted wood forms. This adds an unexpected soft and flexible element that contributes to a playfulness in the work.
Read breaks down books into their essential components, then cuts the covers into colorful strips. She then sews them back together in quilt like fashion to form large wall hung abstract collages. By using covers of the books Read gives a hardness to the surface which one does not ordinarily associate with quilts.
While it is specifically the accessibility and familiarity of discarded, newly obsolescent objects that gives these two artists a creative charge in the work presented here, the idea of recycling and re-purposing has long been at the core of their respective artistic practices.
Straus and Read ask the viewer to look anew at a familiar material by giving it whole new contexts. They stretch definitions of function, celebrate invention, and put in a plug for the quirkiness of the individual maker.
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