Thursday, October 25, 2001 to Saturday, December 1, 2001

    • Thursday, October 25, 2001
    The apparently craft-like methodologies utilized by Rhonda Weppler in her sculptural works are actually rooted in strategies of minimal sculpture; the void at minimalism's core is here transposed to the domestic world. If minimalism historically functioned as a kind of architecture, activated by bodies moving within a social space, Weppler's sculptures reconfigure this neutral and empty public arena as a container for certain fantasies of the home. Constructed according to a priori plan and fabricated with industrial materials and techniques, Weppler's work hides nothing. No secret lies at the core of these objects, no mysterious, auratic inside. Despite its function as a kind of representation, Weppler's work has internalized many of the lessons of sculpture of the late 1960s and early '70s. Her sculptures might be characterised as Pop rereadings of minimal and process art tropes. The eccentricity of form in the veneer works — an effect of the natural processes of material (the shrinking and expanding cellular structure of wood) — also reads as a kind of cartoon Gothic. This seemingly romantic aspect of the work calls up notions of a metaphysical depth couched within the secrets and mysteries of both private life and the artist's working processes — only making the absence of such depth even more acute. A wardrobe associated with the private act of dressing is seen flayed, outside now inside. The bookshelf, its contents normally the fuel for a contemplative interior life, becomes prop. Nostalgia, wherein the object is made prisoner to mythic history, is replaced by a melancholic reflection on the home and private life, two concepts that have come to stand for the plenitude of a past Golden Age. Weppler's work operates at the intersection between our phenomenological and psychological relations to things. Thus, it speaks to the manner in which the private home, and in fact the very idea of privacy, emerges necessarily as an extension of collective, public fantasies: in this case a pop-Gothic one. Such arguments, of course, render this psychological architecture — denied by minimal practitioners but intuited (perhaps ironically) by Michael Fried — no less real. Trevor Mahovsky