Photo Credit: kholstomer photography
there is a road frames Cherubini's exploration of sculptural properties and processes, while destabilizing expectations of structural intention. Cherubini utilizes and dismantles familiar applications of material; the fact of clay here is taken for granted in the presence of its mastery and willful misuse.
Cherubini drew inspiration for this exhibition from a recent visit to the Agnes Martin gallery at the Harwood Museum in Taos, NM. The octagonal gallery houses seven specific paintings by Agnes Martin. Central to the gallery are four Donald Judd benches, chosen by Martin, and an oculus which allows the brilliant, ever-changing light of the Southwestern sky to illuminate and cause shifts in the blue, white and graphite colored paintings. Akin to the Harwood's Martin Gallery, Omi's gallery with skylights and an expansive view onto The Fields Sculpture Park is especially responsive to light. Works exhibited in Omi's gallery are in constant conversation with the light and landscape countryside around then. Cherubini's new series was created in her Hudson, NY studio a short drive from Omi.
Cherubini is a sculptor, a studio artist. She is not a landscape painter or creator of earthworks but while she is manipulating wood, clay, paint in the studio the experience of hours of car rides through the countryside are with her. The knowledge of space and form and placement have been stored. The understanding of color and variation are recorded. And the imposing power of grandeur and minutia are deeply embedded.
These new sculptures are as much engaged in their exquisite specificity as the spaces that take shape between forms and the context they occupy together. Like the collaborative elements within each work, Cherubini's works positioned in a moment of consensus, holding stasis. The large central platform creates a grounding point from which all works converse whether positioned on or in relation to it.
Central to the exhibition is Earth Pot #9, The Three Fates a bronze and clay pot with handles and loops of extruded clay that adorn the pinched and pressed form. The white earthenware of raw, fired clay emphasizes and records the artist's hand. The bronze base bears a natural luster, holding a ring of clay painted a more 'accurate' palette of bronze. A speck of blue accents a top edge of Earth Pot #9, and is pulled outward towards the turquoise STELLA* holding court across the platform.
In contrast to Cherubini's restrained glazing, STELLA is liberally covered in a glassy, deep, watery turquoise. The glaze is poured down the cast boxes, running from one stacked rectangle to another, covering, adhering, and ending in thick drips. Perched on the highest plane, a hexagonal tile partially frames a shimmering, bulbous pot resting on a shard. Here the turquoise stack becomes a supporting pedestal. White slip, black/blue stain, and terracotta clay emerge from the glistening surface. A piece of the kiln furniture is wedged beneath its curve, and a deep blue drip floats sideways in remembrance of the shelf on which it was fired. Following the line of the piece to the plinth, we find a white diamond/hexagon form floating. Where the stack meets the floor an unglazed unadorned pot stands sentinel, asserting the lowest plane.
High, low; supported, supportive; glazed, bare; actual, replicated; functional, aesthetic; singular, and of a whole, Cherubini's works teeter on contradictions and revel in simultaneity. There is a history of place and repetition here. These works take on a new conversation from this exquisite environment of art, land and light. The viewer is invited to rest on a rectangular bench to ponder: a pedestal turned on its side, a sculpture incorporating the uncontainable.
*Nicole Cherubini (b. 1970, Boston, USA) lives and works between Brooklyn, NY and Hudson, NY. She received her B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI), and her M.F.A. from New York University, NY.
She has presented solo exhibitions at Samsøñ (Boston, MA), Perez Art Museum Miami (Miami, FL), Retrospective (Hudson, NY), the Santa Monica Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA), the Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia, PA), Tracy Williams (NY), the Nassau County Museum of Art (Roslyn Harbor, NY), the Jersey City Museum (Jersey City, NJ), and La Panadería (Mexico City, MX).
Her works have been included in group exhibitions at institutions including MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, NY), the Cranbrook Art Museum (Bloomfield Hills, MI Pewabic (Detroit, MI), The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City, MO), the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, MA), the Boston University Art Gallery (Boston, MA) Permanenten: The West Norway Museum of Decorative Art (Bergen, NO), the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (Providence, RI), and the Sculpture Center (Long Island City, NY).
Her work has received press from Art in America, ArtForum, Art News, BOMB Magazine, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. Her work is in the public collections at the the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, MA), the Perez Museum Miami (Miami, FL), and The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery (Saratoga, NY) among others.