New York

Ann Messner

Fawbush Gallery

Ann Messner makes quiet disturbances, using simple forms, common objects, and often the conventions of museological display. Near the entrance to the gallery, the artist installed two adjoining steel shelves each supporting three textured. rusted canisters with raised images of open, grasping hands eerily etched on their surfaces. Five of the sealed vessels sit on top of the shelves, but the sixth is suspended precariously below; it appears to have fallen somehow through the substantial surface. Its lid is absent, and the empty interior is coated with a milky white wax normally used to seal containers in the canning process. The title, Putting Up Preserves (all works 1991), might suggest a sweet tribute to the domestic chore of storing fruits and vegetables at summer’s end, but the forms raise menacing thoughts of rotting barrels of toxic materials.

This piece is emblematic of Messner’s

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