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Jedediah Corwyn Voltz, Marissa Gawel
Recommendation by Roberta Carasso

Jedediah Corwyn Voltz, from the series “Somewhere Small,” 2016, potted plant and mixed media, is currently on view at Orange County Great Park. Marissa Gawel, “Museum of Wonder,” 2016, color photograph. Courtesy the artist and Nat

“Balance” looks at the interaction of nature and sculpture, and in so doing challenges our beliefs about both. The show argues that nature and sculpture thrive when they are in collaboration, rather than, as is often the case, separate entities that co-exist, but apart from one another. The show is split into two main categories — real sculpture and nature on the inner floor; and sculptural documentation through photographs around the perimeter of the gallery. Andre Woodward’s sculptures are among the most aggressive and meaningful. Woodward configures steel rods into large open cubes, from which hang a 100 pound concrete block balanced on wire. The block holds a tree cutting that is happily growing in a nerve wracking, precarious position. Both forms inevitably enter into a state of decay, though plants, unlike art, have the means to self-renew. For this artist, process, natural or man-made, is the essence of art. Woodward offers a fresh perspective in seeing nature and sculpture in collaboration.

Jedediah Corwyn Voltz’ large plants in pots grow amidst miniature structures, which Voltz meticulously creates. Playful and imaginative as a child’s fantasy, Volz’ work may be seen as an enormous environment or a small Lilliputian world. Esther Traugot crochet’s covers for tiny individual seeds and puts each one in a line of small glass bottles. Her work connects us to fragility, with her art protecting this incipient life force. Isabelle Hayeur’s powerful video addresses how industry has taken over the environment and quells nature.

The second part of the exhibition justifies Marissa Gawel’s grant from National Geographic to tour the USA and document folk sculptures from around the country. What she found in museums or odd-ball, out of the way galleries adds up to a surprising collection of things, crafted by tinkerers, such, as a collection of handmade bird houses, constructed dinosaurs, buildings painted with original designs, and constructions. Display along with state road maps, and supportive imagery, Gawel’s work is like taking a road trip, suddenly coming upon the unexpected, and sometimes, wonderful. On other walls are pictures of classic sculptures at the Storm King Art Center, in New York State. The photos point out the essence of the “Balance”.

Orange County Great Park Gallery, Palm Court Arts Complex

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