Surface Tension

Given the titles of the works on display, which include names like Post No Bills Blue and Landlord White, artist Sarah Bostwick clearly has bigger fish to fry than just presenting architectural elements purely for their aesthetic qualities. But there is something liberating about viewing these slices of functional design severed from their context, recently on view at the Gregory Lind Gallery.
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For example, the revealed “indoor” space distinguished by the Landlord White of the title recedes slightly where the piece sits in a space carved out of the gallery wall. Yet other perceived dimensions, such as the corner where the railing continues around the left side of the building is flattened, collapsed, merely imitating a volume that does not exist. The irregular line of the sculpture above the cornice molding and the noticeable sag in the middle of the railing give it an Oldenburg charm, as if a facade was peeled away from a building, shook out and left to dry in the sun.

The eye follows the zig zag of Light Well taking in as it passes by the triangle of windows inset where the lightning bolt converges with the lines of drain pipes and the horizontal bands of an adjacent building. face21The angles are so sharp and the bas-relief so restrained that it appears like a piece of impressed paper lacking the heaviness of a work of plaster and wood. San Francisco Pink & Green is a gravity defying suspension of a semi-walled staircase. Verticals, liberated from the defined termination points of utility, are allowed to dangle. Bostwick somehow extricates the functional, revealing how powerfully iconic everyday architectural features are. I could almost come to believe that the brain codes our recognition of street fronts the same way it records faces so striking are the effects of seeing the hooded lids of a mullion or the extruding tongue of steps leading to an exterior door removed from their contexts and suspended in the void of a gallery wall.

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