San Francisco

Ulrike Palmbach

Wirtz Art

For the past decade, Ulrike Palmbach has been making her own versions of familiar objects, employing, unexpected materials—using surplus army blankets, for instance, to construct a drooping stack of storage crates. She has also used blankets to make woolen telephones (the old-fashioned desk model) and cozy-looking cartons for milk and eggs. These handmade interpretations of machine-made products immediately evoke Claes Oldenburg’s soft sculptures, while other transformations—a loaf of bread carved out of wood and “sliced” with a saw, or a tabletop littered with wooden apple cores—puckishly suggest Surrealist antecedents. Palmbach has also constructed unsettling life-size models of cats and cows out of unbleached muslin sewed over intricate padding that “fleshes out” wooden armatures.

The artist’s recent exhibition at Stephen Wirtz Gallery was dominated by Hounds, 2006, a pack of ghostly,

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