Blair Saxon-Hill, Tonal Sequence at Fourteen30
Fourteen30 @ 937
The yawning, unfinished space of Fourteen30′s temporary home in the 937 condominium building is the perfect setting for Blair Saxon-Hill’s Tonal Sequence, an exhibition of digital prints of collage works and sculptures comprised of cast concrete objects. The latter, in fact, seem to have been made as a material response to the site.
Saxon-Hill’s sculptures are concrete casts of upturned baskets that appear provisionally placed on step ladder or an element in an assemblage of cast objects hugging the floor. Because they are concrete, these small-scale cast objects flip the space/object relationship inside out and the whole space—its concrete floor and columns, the thick slabs framing the windows—become recognizable as the casts of temporary framing sculptures as if we were standing inside a giant Rachel Whiteread. There is also an interesting relationship between the domestic, represented by casts of woven baskets, and the industrial, the cast concrete. But mostly, because of the ashen color of the concrete, I was reminded of Pompeii and then its artifacts which reminded me of the old bottles my dad would find in attics or crawlspaces on remodeling projects.
I am trying to tell you that this exhibition feels as though one had time traveled to a future archeological dig in the ruins of this place where all but a choice few objects had been cleared away.
Fortunately, Saxon-Hill’s elegant prints survived into the FUTURE.
As cast is a physical record of an object, the prints are records too, in this case records of records of records. These are digital prints of collages Saxon-Hill has constructed of fragments of photos of sculptures, photos that had been offset printed and so recorded as halftones.
The texture of the halftone dots, the distressed markings of age, the porous quality of some of the sculptural surfaces, the tiny page number in the upper corner of each work that tips us off to the fact that the ground for each collage is the page of a book, these subtleties add up to give each of these a seductive, virtually tactile, richness. (If we’re folding past into now into future, Saxon-Hill’s also folding the 3D nature of the sculptures originally photographed into the 2D of the collage and almost back into three dimensions again.) In fact, the visible edges of the collaged forms paradoxically give these 2D works dimension and act on the plane as lines in a drawing. As with her recent gestural drawings in ink, Saxon-Hill employs economy of movement in pursuit of striking form. The texture of the gritty ink in the earlier works and here in the found images is a reward for the viewer’s careful attention, an afterglow in the wake of the visual impact of the form.
In this brand new space (so new it’s barely even a space yet, it’s a pre-space), the time-worn, yellowing feel of the collages is magically echoed in the camel-colored, unfinished drywall dotted regularly with white spackle to obscure the nail holes. Exhibiting these works in this place, as much as the qualities of the works themselves, cuts against any kind of nostalgia.
You can see more images here, but go to the gallery…it will be open Saturday.