Critics’ Picks

Jonathan Schipper, To Dust, 2009, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Wassaic

“Homeward Found”

The Wassaic Project Summer Festival
The Maxon Mills 37 Furnace Bank Road
June 16–September 2, 2013

The Wassaic Project is a quirky, informal yet surprisingly ambitious exhibition and residency complex in a sleepy hamlet in upstate New York. At its core is a four-story mill converted into a quick-and-dirty exhibition space. This is the site of the organization’s sixth annual summer exhibition, which includes the work of eighty artists, about half of whom are former residents and whose intimacy with Wassaic’s idiosyncratic spaces and tight-knit community is keenly felt.

Installation and sculpture reign supreme in the exhibition’s barnlike setting, particularly Jonathan Schipper’s To Dust, 2009, which comprises two life-size classical concrete sculptures, one male and one female, turned upside down and hung together from the mill’s rafters by a single chain. Their close proximity inevitably forces the couple to gently bump and rub against each other due to gravity, causing them to almost imperceptibly disintegrate as they slowly form a dusty pile on the ground. Carmen Osterlye’s Den of Blossomy, 2013, is an all-white living-room installation flooded with floral projections that form a trompe l’oeil effect on the furniture, drapery, and picture frames. Tora Lopez’s sculpture Two Cheers for the Bundle of Sticks Metaphor, 2012, made from a bundle of kindling sticks sanded and then coated in opaque bright yellow beeswax, forms a starkly beautiful formal contrast to its folksy surroundings.

Louie Hinnen’s Cornbread and Buttermilk, 2013, the sole work on the top floor of the mill, rewards the visitor who climbs several rickety steps. Hinnen has created a model of his own kitchen in Brooklyn, bereft of actual comestibles but replete with everything up to and including the kitchen sink. Visitors are encouraged to manipulate drawers, cabinets, and the refrigerator through the use of levers and pulleys. Slightly evocative of a gentler Paul McCarthy installation, Hinnen’s familiar and lighthearted piece embodies the ethos of “Homeward Found.”