Mark Andreas and Bryan Zimmerman at Dam, Stuhltrager

Mark Andreas Seed Spreader hand-welded and forded steel 6' x 6' x 9' [installation view away from gallery]

Williamsburg's Dam, Stuhltrager Gallery usually manages to do things differently, whether it's in the choice of art shown, a wonderfully low-key style of exhibition, regular mailings of really imaginative show announcements, or, most recently, an outreach project of art images posted around the city. All of this is accompanied by a shocking indifference to normal gallery pricing standards, and the infectious, but surprisingly rare, good humor and enthusiasm for art shown by the two principals, Cris and Leah.

The current shows are particularly interesting, even if they are both damnably difficult to show in photographs alone.

Mark Andreas's Seed Spreader sculpture is almost the size of the gallery's main space, which would be problem enough, but properly experienced the work is spectacularly kinetic (I could hardly believe Leah Stuhltrager's account of its performance during the opening reception, and I understand there will be one more such event). Beyond that the piece might easily be described as approximately the size of the world on which it is a commentary. Hard to photograph. This is conceptual art made very material. Or, . . . the other way.

Excerpts from the gallery press release:

In Andreas’ mighty sculpture, SEED SPREADER, hundreds of pounds of welded and forged steel are unpredictably triggered into frenzied motion by the decomposition of a single twig. The towering “Seed Spreader”, weighing in at over 400lbs, is wound and activated to jump up in the air, spin three foot blades and shoot Scott's Pure Premium High Performance Grass Seeds which will grow in the gallery.

“SEED SPREADER conceptually speaks to the lack of control consumers have over food production and physically mimics techniques employed by media and politicians to draw in an audience by the use of fear and intimidation.” -M. Andreas

Bryan Zimmerman "Shadow Box Collages and Drawings" (each sold individually) [installation view]

Bryan Zimmerman
's show, "17-Year Cicadas," may have both a superficial and a conceptual relationship to that of Andreas, but it's developed in a very quiet place, in a very quiet manner. His drawings, hand-colored photographs and photographic collages are shown in the rear of the gallery, where it is too dark for a camera which prefers available light. For more sensitive human eyes however this is not an impediment.

Many of the works are very small. All of them are fascinating and some are absolutely breathtaking. The subtleties of his images and his hand, especially while accompanied by a gorgeous ambient music loop (written and performed by Laura Ortman), are best understood in the gallery and not in this post. His subject is a world we have all created through the destruction of one we had found. Zimmerman shows it to us as a world we can hardly begin to understand.

Again, from the press release:

Hand-colored composite photographs collaged with animal inhabitants, insect forms, gestural architectural renderings, decorated taxidermic specimen, and small reliefs that employ feathers, fur, and fly-tying techniques comprise Bryan Zimmerman’s narrative landscapes in “17-Year Cicadas”. Evocative of cicadas that spend 17 subterrestrial years as nymphs, Zimmerman’s photographic collages evolve over several years and emerge from dark, impoverished America humming stories. Zimmerman’s “17 Year Cicadas”, immortalizes the epic tale latent in overlooked gritty rural clumps, “urban-pastoral” rambles, and remote wilderness areas. His imagery of abandoned places pieces together the remnants of the site’s imposed Hominidae history after people have packed themselves up and moved on. The locations pictured are humanized but also human-less.

The resulting landscape tableaux offer, in the artist’s words, “pictures of wilderness and human desire happening in the same place.”

[image at top from Dam, Stuhltrager]

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Published on June 16, 2005 12:59 PM.

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