‘Sharp Objects’ exhibit explores alternative nature of namesake items

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The Amelie A. Wallace Gallery has announced its next exhibition, “Sharp Objects,” a presentation featuring works by four contemporary artists who blur the line between sculpture and assemblage.

The exhibit features the works of Jackie Branson, Pam Brown, Roxi Marsen and Tmima Z and runs from October 29 until November 27. A special opening reception and “Artists’ Talk” is scheduled for October 29 from 4-7 p.m.

By their very nature, sharp objects are menacing, threatening, inherently violent, and potentially injurious. In other contexts, however, they can be interpreted as items of empowerment and protection. The artwork featured in this exhibition repurposes saw blades, sheet metal, cutlery, and other ready-mades into intricately assembled sculptures. Meticulously constructed, the works convey the duality of the sensual and the sinister, the nostalgic and the nuanced. The pieces—personal in nature and sexualized in form—reflect larger sociological, political, and historical issues. Strongly influenced by the Feminist Movement, these artists employ the traditions of craftivism alongside non-traditional methods of fabrication and construction.

Jackie Branson constructs personalized non-traditional armor that reflects the ethnicity of her Armenian heritage. Her retro-vision includes symbols of domesticity, vulnerability, and femininity. In Pam Brown’s sculptures, the focus is on wildlife and American history. Her artwork is defined by a deliberate, painstaking approach that is evocative of craft traditions and domestic labor. She takes these gendered practices into new contexts to develop them as signifying corporal and emblematic elements. Roxi Marsen intuitively repurposes found objects, piecing together disparate elements in precise manner by soaking them in acidic solutions that abrade their surfaces to create synergistic sculptures. Tmima Z advocates fluctuation and originality, as she never creates the same piece twice. Her artwork reflects themes of war, religion, loss, abuse, survival, and memory.

According to curators Pam Brown and Stephen Lamia, the art in this exhibition offers an important dialog about the nature of assemblage vis-à-vis sculpture in the 21st century. These artists collect, appropriate, and redefine the “art object” through remixing materials in a manner analogous to language. Ultimately telling stories through symbolic meaning, their seemingly random constructions become signifiers of an alchemical transformation that lies somewhere between sculpture and assemblage.

Gallery hours are Mondays and Thursdays, 12–5 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; and Fridays 9 a.m.= 3:30 p.m.

About the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery

Formally dedicated on May 22, 1979, the Gallery is named for the late Amelie Alexanderson Wallace in recognition of her unflagging support of the College and her personal commitment to the arts at Old Westbury. The Gallery exhibits Contemporary art by emerging and mid-career artists, as well as works by faculty and students of the Visual Arts Department. Public programs designed to accompany exhibitions comprise lectures and discussions led by artists and curators, as well as live performances and video presentations.