Palm BeachRob Wynne: REFLECTION
GAVLAK presents REFLECTION, a solo exhibition of new installations by New York-based artist Rob Wynne.
Drawn to the mercurial capabilities of glass injected with a Fluxus spirit, Wynne frequently works with iridescent tones resulting from highly tactile, mirrored glass. REFLECTION is composed of sixteen works that cohere into a dizzying, immersive schematic evocative of swirling cosmic dust, fields of liquid, and other abstract vectors. Thousands of pieces of mirrored glass, staged as a kaleidoscopic, contiguous network, also correspond like fascia, the connective tissue which upholds the human body, revealing a corporeal sensibility in Wynne’s work.
Taking his work’s immersive qualities to new depths, REFLECTION nevertheless results from previous spatial constructions by the artist, including Wynne’s recent three-story installation in the grand staircase at Norton Museum of Art, I Remember Ceramic Castles, Mermaids & Japanese Bridges, commissioned in 2019. The stunning physicality of the artist’s installations find root in the volatility of the medium itself—originating as molten glass, each individually crafted element is assembled with both material and conceptual dexterity. Embracing the accidents inevitable during glass production, Wynne leverages a keen editorial sensibility to attain an aesthetic equilibrium amidst the modulatations of chance. The result is a transformation which allows his installations to transcend the intricacies of their fabrication and take on surreal, spellbinding forms.
Following the artist’s previous uses of appropriated text and imagery, this abstract body of work rejects external references, instead seeking inspiration in the physical labor and processes of artistic production. As figural and biomorphic shapes, Wynne’s new forms self-reflexively echo the artist’s visual vocabulary while eschewing direct textual comparison toward any particular referent. Deepening the immersive qualities of his earlier glass manipulations, REFLECTION is installed floor-to-ceiling on all four walls of the gallery, rendering an optical labrinth in which each individual work is not easily isolated. Through Wynne’s arrangement, the artist’s sixteen works together contain a relational dialogue—rather than relying upon exterior information—allowing Wynne’s cartography of mirrored glass to literally reflect upon itself, suggesting a secret history which the viewer is challenged to decipher.
Cocooning witnesses within his installations’ unique landscape, Wynne’s choreography renders an acute spatiality, urging the viewer to locate themselves within the works’ structural and temporal dimensions. An elegy to the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, REFLECTION explores the multivalent notions of “reflection,” engaging in rumination upon the present while orienting a hopeful gaze towards the future.
ABOUT ROB WYNNE
Rob Wynne tests the boundaries of kitsch and beauty, sappiness and profundity in his delicately crafted mixed-media objects, installations, drawings, and canvases. Though he uses a range of techniques and mediums, hand-blown glass is central to his work. Claiming that he is “always trying to break rules and embrace the imperfection in glass making,” Wynne demonstrates its malleability, shaping it into text pieces and objects exquisite and absurd, including eyeballs and mushrooms. Text, too, is key to his practice. He uses words—embroidered over images, formed of glass, painted onto objects—to alter meaning and suggest narratives. In his “Embroidered Paintings,” for example, he embroiders open-ended words and phrases, like “come back,” over Rococo images, whose treacly sentimentality he simultaneously sends-up and complicates—hinting that the serious and the mawkish may be shades of the same thing.
Courtesy of the artist and GAVLAK, Palm Beach/Los Angeles