Nathan Mabry: gripgrabstacksqueeze

April 2 - May 14, 2016
Nathan Mabry
'Fantasies of the Moon'
2016
Epoxy clay, wood, steel, paint
77.5 x 21 x 21 inches, 196.85 x 53.34 x 53.3 cm


Opening reception: Saturday, April 2, 6-8pm

Cherry and Martin is proud to present Nathan Mabry’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will include new drawings and two new bodies of sculptural work: Late One Night and Low Hanging Fruit.

For over a decade, Nathan Mabry has explored the power of transformation. His sculptures and drawings are sites for energetic formal and intellectual reinvention. Mabry writes, “I've always been fascinated by the power of the object, and how it relates to personal and collective experiences.” In Mabry’s work, objects—be they art historical or pop cultural—are transformed. In playing with the look and feel of these objects, how we relate to them and how they relate to each other, Mabry reinvents their meaning—and thus their power.

The works in the exhibition draw from pop cultural history, American and European Modernism, and global ceramic traditions. In these works, Mabry investigates the relation between high-art and low-art; between western art and so-called ‘ethnographic’ art; and the various complications inherent in the handmade, the remade, the found and the fabricated. Nathan Mabry’s new works allow for a shifting space between individualism and pre-determination that is perhaps the truest expression of the modern American condition. Mabry has long been interested in individual artistic agency, but for Mabry, exploring the relationship between the artist, the work, the viewer and art historical precedents is a deliberate approach that provides an interplay of iconic association and idiosyncratic vision.

The works in Mabry’s new Late One Night series draw from the ideals of mid-century abstract steel sculpture. In the Late One Night works, Mabry explores the aesthetic tropes of a certain conformist vision that occurs in American and European sculpture in the early 60s. Stainless steel cast gloves, cans and a shop bucket are placed in dialog with sheets of “junkyard” metal. A ruin-like landscape presents an amalgamation of ritualistic performance—are we seeing studio process?—that is at the same time an investigation of historical stylized uses of found material. Mabry’s works have the mystical presence of shadows—or works made in the shadows—offering cryptic forms that reveal themselves through prolonged looking. They are at once fragile and impermanent, but made with an authority and skill that defies gravity. Totemic and familiarly monumental, Mabry’s Late One Night objects work in a referential network of association where the authoritarian rule collapses. Mabry writes, “Things are just things…or are they?”

Low Hanging Fruit
is the second body of sculptural work included in Mabry’s show. These works are incorporated into a kind of quasi-landscape or in-flux temple. Made from casts of various animals, fruit, plants and detritus, and painted in tones of red, the pieces in the Low Hanging Fruit group are mysterious and mystical signifiers. These obscure “collages” or trans-historical exchanges are a nod to the grand moments and movements within art objects—a meta-reference to metaphors about culture that are undefinable, reference the historical, and synthesize an emotional, organic sense of humanity.

Nathan Mabry received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. Mabry’s work has been the focus of important exhibitions, including his solo exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX); Thing: New Sculpture from Los Angeles (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA); Red Eye: Los Angeles Artists from the Rubell Family Collection (Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL); and Thief Among Thieves (Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO). Mabry’s work is included in the collections of the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, CA); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA); Orange County Museum of Art (Newport Beach, CA); Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego, CA); Phoenix Museum of Art (Phoenix; AZ); Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, TX); Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX); Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO); Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY). Private collections include 176 / Zabludowicz Collection (London, UK); The Rubell Family Collection, (Miami, FL); and Vanhaerents Art Museum (Brussels, Belgium). Mabry’s work has been the subject of reviews and articles in such domestic and international publications as Art in America, Art Forum, Art + Auction, Frieze, Modern Painters, The Art Newspaper, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. Mabry lives and works in Los Angeles.