Bushwick, for many, evokes images of colorful, formally adroit, and slightly sterile abstract paintings, but wandering the halls of two buildings on Troutman Street on Saturday during Bushwick Open Studios, I was struck by the large number of artists making outstanding sculptures in a broad range of styles and media. In the massive warehouse building at 1717 Troutman especially, it seemed as if sculptors outnumbered painters.
In fact, the first artist I spoke with, Christopher Marshall in studio 303, said that in the past year he’d given up on painting — which he studied at art school — and taken up sculpture. He said working in a medium in which he has no formal training took away many of the inhibitions he’d struggled with while making paintings, and that now there’s no internal art history professor telling him what he can and can’t do. His extreme and surreal sculptures certainly reflect that sense of freedom and experimentation.
In studio 322, artist Roxanne Jackson invited a number of other sculptors to bring their works, making for an impromptu, playful, yet aesthetically cohesive mini-exhibition including works by Heidi Lau, Caroline Hayward, Kevin Andrew Curran, Ben Godward, and Sarah Bednarek.
Entering Derek Weisberg‘s studio (327) is like stepping into Geppetto’s workshop: its walls are lined with the faces of what look like failed experiments. Weisberg’s ceramic and plaster sculptures are smashed and reassembled in variously jarring or cohesive ways, making for masks, heads, and busts that incorporate several different styles and color palettes into sometimes playful, sometimes melancholy figures.
Possibly my favorite discovery of the day, also in studio 327, was Lulu Yee, whose painted ceramic figures and crowns are colorful, quirky, and completely captivating. The special display space she created for one of her Yellow Submarine-ish characters, complete with a spinning pedestal, was the most elaborate studio installation I saw all day.
Similarly odd and endearing are the small, ceramic babushka figures lining the floors and walls of Dasha Bazanova‘s studio (216). The Lilliputian sculptures seemed all the more otherworldly sharing the narrow space with Kelli Thompson‘s large and hypnotic portrait paintings.
After three and a half hours in 1717 Troutman, I eventually made it one block north to 1828 Troutman, where Elizabeth Ferry‘s incandescent sculptures made from plaster casts of hands and fruits in various configurations are both incredibly funny and chromatically delightful.
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