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 Aric Obrosey
 Laura Sharp Wilson

 January 10 - February 11, 2018

Since the early 1990s, Aric Obrosey has used lace imagery in his work, attracted to its structural complexity, intricate patterning, precise detail, and overall beauty. For Obrosey, lace serves as a metaphor for a bygone economy where consumer objects were laboriously created by hand, one by one, but are now machine-made and mass-produced.  For example, in the graphite drawing Iconic Fond, lace strands intertwine into a labyrinthine glove form, a symbol of labor.  Each strand is made up of distinct motifs that reference manufacturing, including advertising starbursts, automobile emblems, and micro-circuitry, and motifs that recall the handmade, such as Shaker bandbox fasteners, Chippendale brasses, and mandalas. Obrosey also incorporates artistic motifs referencing the paintings of Lichtenstein and Stella, as well as his own body of work. In the large-scale, cut-paper Detritus Doily, the artist employs a wide variety of lace motifs cut entirely by hand, using implements ranging from needles and surgical scalpels to a screwdriver.  The work was inspired by the 19th-century practice of sewing together scraps of lace to create a larger doily in the spirit of a “crazy quilt.”  In his most recent graphite work, the artist draws fields of varying lace patterns contrasted with bold swathes of brushstroke imagery, creating a collage-like effect.  In this marriage of opposites, traditional feminine associations of lace and the masculine bravura of action painting coexist and the hierarchy of painting over “craft” is leveled.  
Laura Sharp Wilson uses textile-inspired imagery to explore themes of domestic accumulation, familial bonds, and the search for true interpersonal connections within an increasingly superficial social structure.  Her interest in the aesthetic and social impact of material goods can be traced in part to contrasting décors of muted elegance versus mid-century modern that she observed in the homes of her grandparents, which in turn reflected their conservative versus liberal political views. Fabrics in particular fascinated Wilson from an early age, especially with their power to transform the domestic interior through rugs, curtains, and upholstery.  While her work uses the language of decoration and materiality, she always intertwines deep personal meanings within narratives of binding, constricting, enveloping, unraveling and reconciliation.  In her new drawings, Wilson depicts knotted threads combining into larger structures, which themselves weave in and out of a network of minimalistic shapes. For Wilson, the tension between coalescing and dematerializing forms reflects the struggle to define a personal place within a social hierarchy.  Other drawings feature a recurring central form with the proportions of a cell phone, yet the ubiquitous object itself is missing. Instead, its volume is implied by the negative space between looping coils, binding tendrils or an enveloping warp and weft.
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