FJORD is pleased to present as slow, as new, as single, a two person exhibition by Alfred Rosenbluth and Jon Weary, curated by co-director Todd Stong.
How does naming a thing set it in stone? A wasp stings meanly; though to her, she clears rot and defends her sisters. A bat frightens and screeches. What of it singing and dancing? An apple grows to be picked and sold, not to spread its seeds. A snake bites; we forget it sunbathes, too.
Artists Alfred Rosenbluth and Jon Weary take issue with the shortcuts of naming, categorization, and order, and the simplification of thought that these tendencies perpetuate. Each has formed their own strategies to guide viewers into new possibilities for the form and function of their chosen imagery. Seeking something absolute, something singular, and yet universal, they convert the familiar into the unnameable.
All at once angelic, reptile, aeriform, and earthen, Alfred Rosenbluth's enigmatic plaster reliefs suggest mythologies but evade precise referents. Living at the tip of the tongue, their familiarity invites close consideration, playing on tropes of ancient sculpture, pattern, and geometry to bring viewers into a process of meditation and rediscovery. Circular, cloud-like faces - beaked and eyes bulging - call on the votive traditions of early Mesopotamia. Objects that might stand in for a devotee, always looking, they appear as if attendant upon otherworldly beings, hoping to glimpse a god, or simply a truth, passing momentarily through our physical dimension. Amidst these wide-eyed figures, serpentine coils animate the sculptures with organic line and layered scales, intimating living, connective energy.
Directly working with clay molds, Rosenbluth uses various stamping tools and methods to press a spatial negative into clay which he fills with plaster to create the hanging sculptures. The results are richly textured and deeply singular, with varying thicknesses that imply a process of intense physicality. At the same time, the sculptures are built from a system of simple iterative mark-making meant to ablate the artist's hand through irreducible gestures. It is a practice that oscillates between fullness and emptiness, hinting at an experience that foregrounds a physical apprehending of the world in order to see beyond its surface.
Jon Weary's systematic and elaborately constructed paintings of bushel crates, apples, and radial geometry question human impositions of order on an experience of landscape and ecology. Carefully scaled drawings and methodically layered color produce muted grounds over which Weary amalgamates pattern and entropy.
The slight nudge of a boot might have pushed this crate slightly out of line; a tumbling apple becomes lodged haphazardly, taking more space than efficiency might call for. Studied tiling patterns divide into the fruits. Through these, more patterns of color cascade to form bright, chance geometries -- a visual meditation on "inter-being", a term coined by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh to describe the deeper current of connection that runs through all living things.
Smaller works separate the human structures of counting – the bushel – from the irregular and uncountable living fruit. A tablet-like painting of an empty crate aches to be folded away, cold without its contents. Small circular paintings reminiscent of hex signs might be apples spilled from their boxes; removed from their context, they are color and pure potential.
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 3, 2024 | 6-9 PM