Rebecca Wing’s sculptural oddities are an intimate experience. Their handcrafted nature and diverse scale inherently lend themselves to investigation, an investigation that is best undertaken as a solo expedition into uncharted territory; Wing’s work is at once both intimately familiar upon their investigation and upendingly abstracted. This pull between the familiar and the abstract opens up a space in which the viewer is asked to classify what is at times spread across the gallery floor, leaning up against walls, perched atop the thinnest of shelves and basking in BOX Gallery’s Main Street-facing windows. The other aspect, which lends itself so readily to the amplification of Wing’s work, is the close quarters of BOX Gallery itself.
An intimate, yet cavernous space, BOX Gallery is appended to Hostel Buffalo-Niagara. JP Pierre, who describes the curatorial ethos of the space as uneven, yet open to experimentation, helms the space. Pierre notes there is not set rhythm or reason to the space’s curatorial roster, but instead seeks to work with artists within the wider Western New York network, and for whom the space would present a unique and challenging exhibition opportunity. These factors make BOX Gallery distinct – kin of other experimental arts spaces such as Dreamland Art Gallery, and Sugar City Art Gallery – wherein it exists closer to a laboratory than a traditional, commercial gallery.
Wing’s exhibit, Soft Things Rigidly, picks apart the ways in which the everyday, mundane, and ubiquitous is abstracted, and through this abstraction made fragile and achingly intimate. Wing’s sculptures call forth everyday objects belonging to the most intimate of spaces: the home; insofar as the papier-mâché, clay, paint, and cardboard forms call to mind knife-sharpening blocks, radiator panels, and broom handles. The work is calibrated to hit the aesthetic sweet spot between novice kitsch and arch studio product, with the artist giving away very little of how this oddly familiar work is made manifest, or how it comes to exist in the same, shared plane of the gallery space.
A large portion of the space is given over an object of singular contradiction to Wing’s smaller artwork, Loll; a large, acid-green drop cloth appears to be covering a large object (or a host of smaller objects), while the drop cloth itself does little to camouflage the artist’s own brush marks upon it’s surface. It is lashed down to the gallery floor, while transparent, yellow flags demarcate its footprint within the gallery space. Most notably, a pale blue scroll unfurls, and is frozen caught mid-slippage as it bounces across Loll’s rigid surface. It is this tension – between hard and soft, between motion and stillness, and most notably, between what is seen and what is obscured – which gives Wing’s sculpture its boundless curiosity and gives viewers an insatiable craving for more.
BOX Gallery plays a significant role in this reading of Wing’s work. This space affords viewers the chance to be intimately adjacent to these hard/soft forms, seeing the slate-grey daylight of Buffalo spring bounce color from the sculptures and onto the assimilative gallery walls, and reading these unique oblique objects as an ushering forth from their cold, white expanse. Wing’s sculpture has a quiet presence that sings, and BOX Gallery allows that voice a spotlight, and a megaphone.