Bone, and other Stories
October 16- November 6, 2002
A thread of playfulness runs through Robert Ressler's sculpture. Many of his public art projects throughout the continental United States function as playground equipment, inviting viewers in effect to re-experience the intimate proximity to materials his hands-on creative process requires. I have personal experience in this regard, as my two children were all over Ressler's giant Mantis at the Staten Island Children's Museum when they were still small enough to do so.
With his substantial background in public art Rob Ressler tends to see even temporary exhibitions in terms of spatial possibilities. Upon entering this gallery for the first time during his participation in last season's Second Nature exhibit (Hydra, from that show, will continue to occupy the sculpture courtyard for the remainder of Bone) he made an immediate conceptual connection between smaller sculptures he had been working on in Vermont and the considerable volume of this space. Thus conceived, Bone, and other Stories works on levels both metaphorical and literal.
He describes these individual sculptures in contrast to his permanent installations as "…more spontaneous, each form derived from the wood itself, a bur, knot or curve sensuously defining each sculpture". Precedents for this technique are found in as broad a historical span as one can imagine; from Paleolithic sculpture, to the crafting of fifteenth century English long bows, to twentieth century abstractions by Brancusi and Noguchi.
Ressler describes the unusual installation as equally dependent on the material itself, "After having worked with wood and steel on large scale and in a figurative mode for over two decades, I allowed the work to be directed by the dimension and idiom of each branch, on a scale that did not require heavy equipment in its fabrication or installation. With this in mind, an aerial presentation of these sculptures seemed to best express the elegance and simplicity of the forms, as diverse as twigs and as light as airborne seed pods".
The sculptures are carved from yellow locust, collected by the artist in Vermont and finished in his studio in Brooklyn. Each, approximately 96" x 8", is suspended from nylon line attached to steel cable.