Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sarah Bostwick at Gregory Lind (SF)

Alert: This exhibit is scheduled to close on 10/14/06.

Sarah Bostwick’s latest show at the Gregory Lind Gallery is full of reductivist intrigue. Bostwick makes relief drawings by means of casting and carving, often using Hydrocal (a plaster-like gypsum cement) combined with other materials such as antique ivory, slate, hardwoods, or acrylic. Some of the drawings are portable objects, some are installed into a wall. They are representations of the built environment—rooms, windows, rooflines, and so on—which rely on the rendering of select details in an otherwise blank surface. The results can look Minimalist, though not always.

The level of craft is high. Occasionally I found myself responding more to the craft than to the aesthetic idea. A classic risk of subtle, refined work is coming across as precious. Bostwick does not always evade this problem.

Another issue, in several works, is the tug of war set off by incorporating dark materials into an otherwise white rendering. The dark shapes tend to overwhelm the details rendered in white. An example is “2nd and Harrison,” 12 x 30 x 2.25 inches, made of Hydrocal and ebony (image below from the gallery website).

However, the black-and-white tension works well in one of the show’s best works: “3261 23rd Street at Capp,” made of wood, wallboard, and slate. The full piece (48 x 60 x 2.75 inches) is shown at the top, while below is a detail of the church view through the window (images taken from the gallery website).

Another fine piece was “Capp Street Light Well,” 9 x 13 x 2 inches, made of Hydrocal, antique ivory, and maple (image below from the gallery website). Note the dish antennas.

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