Jessica Drenk: Second Nature Opening Reception
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Nov. 23, 2019, 04:00 pm
Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce Jessica Drenk: Second Nature,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. The show will open with a public reception for the artist on November 23rd, 4-6pm, and will run through January 11th.
For Drenk, the material is the starting point of her artistic inquiry, an exploration that takes her from simple notions and ideas to complex expressions of information, systems and patterns. She reconfigures every-day materials such as books, pencils, plastic bags, even PVC pipe, drawing on their physical properties to re-contextualize them into visually compelling and thought-provoking sculptural outcomes.
The exhibition will feature a new body of work emerging from mass-produced utilitarian and readily discarded objects: plastic bags. Spliced and organized by color, they are transformed into banded formations, layers resembling geological strata. Repurposing this product into a structure resembling its material origins, plastic as a by-product of petroleum, Drenk’s reconfiguration timely questions the reverberations of our every-day consumption and its long-lasting environmental impact. Another new group stems from her Cerebral Mapping series made of cut-up book pages saturated in wax. Here, the tangled patterns are tightly compressed and contained into hard-edged frames, presenting the works as textural paintings in their brown, whites and grey muted tones. By contrast, the waxed-book strips in Circulation become continuous ribbons taking on the shape of tree rings, another reference to the interrelation between source of material and the object.
The modulated pieces of pine in Tesselation emulating a digital matrix code or ancient human dwellings further the discourse between nature and the man-made, while the most mundane object, a pencil, becomes one of a multitude of meticulously arranged building blocks in the Implements series. These are carved and shaved into structures resembling rocks or minerals, or even pre-historic fossils. One such work, Speleothem, is made up of thousands of pencils en masse forming a stalactite suspended from the ceiling over the stalagmite below. These sculptures paradoxically expose the exterior of the pencils in their interior chambers, while their outside surfaces reveal the graphite within the writing instruments. It is this duality, this questioning of our systems of function and information as we traditionally perceive them that Drenk subverts, re-defining our perceptions and pre-conceptions of what constitutes a man-made object versus a product of nature. Through her engaging works, Drenk manages to turn ordinary materials into a collection of extraordinary objects.
Drenk has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions since earning her MFA from the University of Arizona in 2007. Her work is in many private and corporate collections including Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Fidelity Investments, Boston, MA and Bank of America in Houston, TX. Drenk lives and works in New York.