Shea Hembrey, “Dark Matter” Review-
On exhibit in Chelsea currently at the Bryce Wolkowitz gallery is Shea Hembrey’s “Dark Matters”, an exhibit of sculptures and tactile 2-D works that seem to pit the natural, physically fathomable immediacy of objects against an abstract perspective of time and space.
Shea Hembrey initially received recognition for his labor-intensive and diverse showcase entitled “SEEK” in which he created 100 fictional artists and work for each in a wide range of styles. Hembrey’s work in “SEEK” is more of a testament to his technical ability and breadth rather than the work itself, and the crux of the work’s appeal is its conceptual and perhaps satirical nature. When perusing the work of each of Hembrey’s fictional artists, it is difficult not to assume a certain bitterness for the one-note nature of a modern artist’s aesthetic identity.
“Dark Matters” is a heavy shift. Hembrey combines a wide range of materials effortlessly and imaginatively, without sacrificing the cohesiveness of the exhibit. The diversity of “SEEK” was no accident or byproduct of the project alone; Hembrey manages to weave- somewhat literally- minimalist color wash paintings with compulsively constructed sculptures full of minute details. For example, this small black pin cushion type object with a crowded web of thread pulled taut around it sits in glass in front of a dark painting with twine pressed into the canvas, twisted together like a child would to create a cat’s cradle.
Other stand-out pieces include a prickly cyclone of straw encased in glass, and a board darkly painted with subtle warm undertones and small dots of what looked like lacquered acrylic paint. (The title of said canvas is When Eyes Are Closed- Dark Rain, which was my favorite.) The common thread- pun intended - is keen attention to sensual details and the evocation of otherworldly interconnectedness. Hembrey’s use of twine, straw, and feathers contrasts wonderfully with turbulent black hole-like images and overpowering pattern detail. Together these aspects create a surrealistic world with strong palpable elements that call to mind real world environments- a lucid construction the viewer is prompted to discover rather than pushed.
View the gallery at http://www.brycewolkowitz.com/www/ .