April 14 – May 21, 2011
opening reception Thursday, April 14, 2011 6-8pm
Smoke and Mirrors
It has been too long. Postmasters Gallery is extremely pleased to present “Smoke and Mirrors,” an exhibition of new works by DAVID NYZIO. This will be the artist’s first solo show in New York in twelve years.
As always Nyzio’s works explore the richness of natural materials, processes and phenomena. In the past he has created photographic images in algae, constructed “grid paintings” from cut butterfly wings and employed insects to make his drawings. In this show he will exhibit sculptures made from polished coal (Anthracite) and cut charcoal, a series of smoke drawings, as well as objects made in collaboration with beavers and sheep.
Nyzio’s works are suspended between the two worlds: natural world and world of art. In one sculpture in the show the beaver stumps are sequenced to create a nature-made version of Brancusi’s endless column. The polished anthracite objects: a snowman, a string of beads, and several small puddles become wondrous mirrors reflecting their surroundings. The forms and materials acquire new meaning as David Nyzio brings to us objects of great beauty and enriches our perception of what already exists on earth. Now more than ever the turn towards understanding and preservation of natural world carries an extra weight.
Through out my life, the extraordinary beauty and vastness of natural history has been profound. Marveling at the diversity and richness of form, down to the most finely structured surface, is central to my work. A predisposition as a tinkerer, has resulted in a diverse group of work, each forged from a different constellation of events. This recent group of work reflects this process.
Within the Anthracite coal works, regardless of the material’s blackness, the expression of light is central. Hundreds of millions of years ago during the carboniferous period, various photosynthetic bog plants at that time were processing sunlight, to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Over the next 300 million years, as these wetlands moved from the equator to their present location, the organic plant material was then buried and subjected to great pressure and heat. The result is an extremely high carbon material that unlike most other rock, is essentially made out of life.
The monumental temporal and spatial scale of these geologic oscillations are difficult to comprehend, the extreme compression of the coal and relatively instant release of it's sequestered light and heat needed to produce our energy, leaves me in awe and stupefied. In polishing to a mirror finish, this historically dimensional and exquisitely beautiful material, I contemplate the discrepancy between the speed of light, time it takes to see ones reflection in the material and it's actual dimension. My hope in these works is not so much to evoke a sense of pathos, but to inspire a reflection of space, time, and life.
The carbon mirrors made out of charcoal were inspired at first, by drawing with charcoal. The material is well known for the rich matte blackness it possess when crushed or scraped against the paper, however the reflective beauty of the charcoal, and the ringing sound it makes when dropped is what really interests me. It wasn't until I was birding in a burned area of Yellowstone that I was truly inspired by the charred shiny blackened pines gleaming in the sun. This led to experimenting with making charcoal using different kinds of wood, testing for reflective qualities. This was done using an all but sealed chamber I put into my woodstove. Testing about 25 species I selected 5 for the piece in the exhibition. The off gas byproduct of this work was the source of some of the heat for my home this past winter. Charcoal like coal, is fused with natural history, and with more recent human history. Deviating from the illustrative way charcoal is used in drawing, that is: "the technique of configuring the crushed blackness against the paper in order to effectively control the light of the paper glowing through the blackness", the use of charcoal in these works is about three dimensionality. The charcoal is a microscopic configuration of mirrors determined by the particular woods' history. These mirrors reflect and direct the light, bringing light and color out of the blackness, the work changing noticeably with your orientation.
Postmasters Gallery located at 459 West 19th
Street between 9 and 10 Avenues
is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 – 6
Please contact Magdalena Sawon or Paulina Bebecka with questions and image requests firstname.lastname@example.org