“Formal Alchemy”: N. Dash, Amikam Toren, and Nicole Wermers
Curated by Jessica Silverman
FUSED: 1401 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
June 25 – October 2013
Opening Reception: June 25 from 6-8PM
“Alchemy” is the power or process of transforming something common into something special. All three of the artists in “Formal Alchemy” have the ability to create elegant objects out of common ingredients through conceptually interesting processes. In a variety of twists on the tradition of being “true” to materials, Toren, Wermers and Dash exploit physical properties beyond their typical uses. The exhibition bears witness to a conversation about transformation, utility and the authority of pure form…
Amikam Toren (b. 1945) is represented in the exhibition by his Stacks sculptures from the 1980’s. Toren’s totemic Stacks involve removing and puling one side of a cardboard box, adding pigment to the pulp, then applying the mixture to canvas in a way that cpatures some aspect of the box (e.g. “This way up” or “Fragile”), then stretching the painted canvas over the opening of the original box. The artist then stacks the paintings, both reasserting their identity as cardboard boxes and proclaiming their status as sculpture.
Nicole Wermers (b. 1971) starts with diverse natural and man-made objects, subverting them in formally intriguing ways that alter our senses of the everyday. With Water Shelf #1 and Water Shelf #2 (both from 2012), Wermers turns industrial shelving units upside down and transforms them into shallow troughs for holding water. Untitled (bench), 2010, is transparent acrylics box in a branch-like form that contains three rocks that were handpicked by the artist. One can perch on the work but the plastic may scratch, so the viewer must wrestle with their desire for function. Many of Wermers’s works have a purpose beyond their art objecthood, but it is invariably an impractical one.
N. Dash (b. 1980) combines adobe, a material that is rarely used in painting, with the classic ingredients of art – stretchers, linen and paint. By these means, she probes and enlivens conventional approaches to painting. In Night Light 1 and Night Light 2, Dash creates a dynamic interplay between weight and sensuality of the linen and the careful application of hand painting, thus exploring the sculptural potential of the two-dimensional medium.
FUSED is an exhibition space where the art and design worlds can come together. Adjacent to the world-renowned design studio, fuseproject in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill, FUSED is hosted by its founder Yves Behar and curated in its inaugural year by gallerist Jessica Silverman. Behar and Silverman will work together to foster a provocative dialogue between art and design through several exhibitions a year. The space will be open to the public on weekdays from 10AM to 6PM.
“Art is a growing passion of mine,” says Behar. “Establishing FUSED is a way to engage with and support the art community directly. Sharing this inspiration with the broader art and design worlds, the fuseproject team, and the neighborhood where it lives, is a contribution we look forward to making.”
“In its first year,” says Silverman, “I will curate a series of shows featuring artists who explore the explicit tropes and subtle nuances of design in their artworks. I have always been obsessed with aesthetic minutiae and am keen to curate exhibitions that draw attention to formal details that sometimes go unnoticed.”