Quarry

Rob Fischer QUARRY

Charest-Weinberg is pleased to present QUARRY, an exhibition of new sculpture by Brooklyn-based artist Rob Fischer. QUARRY further extends and refines Fischer’s abiding desire to tease out the latent energy buried within the dilapidated husks of vernacular American structures from the rural Midwest. Whether rusting industrial container tank wreathed in a thicket of weeds, or prefab trailer listing in the wind, Fischer scours both open road and remote backwoods searching for faint vibrations, dim emanations, and off-kilter frequencies leaking out of the junkyard still-life.

Where we might see a mere roadside attraction with minor rubbernecking appeal, Fischer instantly gleans the potential in every shotgun shack and punctured oil drum as a potent memory trigger for what he describes as a “congregation of ambitions.” That is to say, in repurposing whole taxonomies of quasi-architectural roadkill and then further defamiliarizing them with the recombinant tactics of a prairie bricoleur, Fischer never loses sight of these neglected artifacts as the magnets for human assembly they once were. Though leached of every former trace of the utilitarian and deliriously abstracted into retro-Modern totems, the scuffed floor boards of a scavenged gymnasium floor, to take but one example, always carry the phantasmic traces of the shot-clock running down, the buzzer-beating 3-pointer, the Hail Mary pass, and the crowd’s collective sigh and groan as the applause fades into another season. They always carry, in other words, the human residue from an endless succession of convocations of yearning, absent the cloying Hoosier-like nostalgia that typically clings to cinematic representations of same. The seismographic ups and downs of the dream deferred, and by extension, the beleaguered pioneer optimism that once gave rise to it, is, in essence, the material substrate of Fischer’s work.

In drawing a bead on the organic corrosion that clings to the average playground slide or twin-engine propeller, Fischer, through a process of both material and metaphoric exfoliation, is able to peel back the sedimentary layers, further dramatizing the nexus between the lifecycle of objects and cycles of Heartland hope and despair. Similarly, when Fischer polishes this reclaimed propeller to a mirror finish and positions it ramrod straight in a concrete slab a la Brancusi’s Bird in Space (1923), or recasts the spiraling plastic slide in a visceral slab of molten aluminum, he is paying grim homage to the legacy of America’s dwindling manufacturing economy, while simultaneously locating a statuesque beauty in the most forlorn and degraded of cast-off goods.

Lewis Richardson, an early 20th Century mathematician who studied fractal patterns in weather formations, perhaps best expressed the divine proportion emanating from the spiral: “Big whorls have little whorls, which feed on their velocity; And little whorls have lesser whorls, and so on to viscosity.”

It is precisely within this viscous muck, the estuarial swamp of Fischer’s own singular imagination, where notions of human longing meet anti-monuments longing to be known, and the two become inextricably twinned, spiraling backward into communal memory. QUARRY, the exhibition at Charest Weinberg, then, suggests a damp crucible for the dredging up of these sculptural double-helixes, wherein Fischer ultimately transforms humble gymnasiums into magisterial cathedrals. Cathedrals, mind you, which aspire to a proverbial state of grace, but, like the thousands of disciples that once passed through them, seem content with simply slouching toward a normative state of coping.

Rob Fischer is a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. Born in Minneapolis, MN in 1968, he now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He has had solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York; Cohan and Leslie, New York; Mary Goldman Gallery, Los Angeles; Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara; Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis; Max Wigram Gallery, London; and Art in General. His work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including the 2004 Whitney Biennial; Greater New York, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY; Open House: Working in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Museum; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Interval, Sculpture Center, Long Island City; Three Suitcases, Art and Idea, Mexico City; and Sculpture on Site and 100 Years of Sculpture, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. He has received, among other honors, the Bush Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship, Minneapolis; a residency from Art in General, New York; and the Minnesota State Arts Board Visual Arts Fellowship.

October 9th, 2010 - November 21st, 2010