Material Limit brings together two Bay Area-based women sculptors Alexis Arnold and Mary Button Durell. These two artists’ practices center around the sustained investigation of material, and how that material interacts with space, light and time.
Alexis Arnold will be exhibiting pieces from her crystallized book series, a body of objects that begin as books, but are transformed into sculptures through the artist’s process for growing borax crystals onto tricky and elusive surfaces. The books appear frozen and suspended in time, immobilized and inert in their ability to transmit information from writer to reader. The frozen form as well as its inaccessible content provoke nostalgia and asks questions about humanity’s millennial-long relationship to paper.
Arnold will also be creating two site-specific installations that investigate the way certain materials interact with light and space over time. The larger, west-facing work will take advantage of state’s expansive windows and full sunlight, with crystals affixing to pieces of mesh screen, which will change significantly over the course of the exhibition—shifting in opacity, falling on the floor and audibly crackling as they interact with the bright conditions of the space. The smaller “sister” installation will anchor the gallery’s southern wall using the subtle nature of resin to play with perception. The piece will change as the viewer moves around it and as the day moves from morning to night.
Mary Button Durell, a longtime Bay Area exhibiting artist, will be showcasing both early and brand new work. Durell works with tracing paper and wheat paste, probing the material—literally and figuratively—for over two decades. The focal point of her work in Material Limit will be The Cloud, a large, sixteen year-old, three-dimensional paper structure suspended from the ceiling. The Cloud is one form made from multiple small molds that are held together in an intricate shape by a mixture of glue and engineering acumen. For Material Limit, the cloud will be installed with attention to artificial atmospheric details like light and wind.
This sculpture, like much of Durell’s work, highlights a thrilling commitment to object-making that is obsessive, meditative and endurance-based. Ambitious constructions contrast with the fragility of paper highlighting expectations about paper’s capabilities as a material. Interacting with space and light to create mysterious and ethereal installations, Durell’s work is anchored by an Eastern sense of the present moment, both in its creation and upon viewing.
Material Limit: Alexis Arnold & Mary Button Durell
Exhibition Dates: June 18 – July 30, 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 18, 6-9pm
1295 Alabama Street, San Francisco