May 2 – June 29, 2008
Tom Sachs, Cary Smith
The Ars Libri interior space features a selection of drawings and paintings by Cary Smith. Smith’s longstanding and rigorous commitment to abstraction spans more than twenty years. The work in this exhibition (by no means a complete exposition of Smith’s nuanced interest in abstraction) nevertheless gives a sense of the range of his approach. Though much has been written about the various genera and species of abstraction, few artists have held such a persistent and crisp position regarding the seeming contradiction suggested by his tight abstractions. Like other artists he is influenced by (such as Myron Stout), Smiths’s forms are arrived at intuitively despite the considerable restraint in his mark making. Both organic and formal, these works are the result of a open, fluid mind and a restrained, disciplined hand. The result is an exquisite tension that demands patience, a patience richly rewarded.
In the window space, work from Tom Sachs is handmade using police barricades, foamcore, hardware, and found or scavenged objects that Sachs reclaims for his own purposes. The rough-hewn appearance of each work reflects Sachs’ continued exploration of bricolage, or a “do-it-yourself” aesthetic, but is also an integral part of a longstanding critique of our culture’s views on consumption and human labor. The dueling pistol set, Dundus, comes from Sachs’ now famous body of work exhibited at Mary Boone in New York in 1999, which resulted in the dealer spending the night in jail for illegal possession of firearms. Uncle Door, pays tribute to the formalist sculptor“Uncle Lee” Tribe, the artist’s welding/art instructor at Bennington College, but like the Dundus pistols, it also collapses power resistance and authority in making use of police barricades in the construction of dungeon doors and dueling pistols.