new-york

Melissa Smedley

Franklin Furnace

Though Melissa Smedley’s sculptures are clearly the descendants of furry teacups and spidery hat racks, unlike their Dada and Surrealist ancestors, they are neither extravagant nor irreverent. A pragmatist of sorts, Smedley reformulates cast-off objects and clothes, appliances and electronics, for real, albeit quixotic, purposes. Her “recombinant objects,” as she calls them, suggest tools and props, though it is difficult (if pleasurable) to imagine what their uses might be without some sort of demonstration. Hanging from the ceiling in her most recent installation Water Table (all works 1995)—which also included a video—was a pair of shoes concocted of wooden blocks and felt; rice paper projected outward above the soles like clouds, while bundles of dried weeds trailed behind. In the video, entitled Practicing for the Millennium, Smedley wears this footwear to trudge through the stark

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