October 24 - December 6, 2014
Opening Friday, October 24th, 5:00-8:00pm
Corbett vs. Dempsey is delighted to announce Dusty Groove , an exhibition of new work by Josiah McElheny. In his first show with the gallery, McElheny unveils a group of sculptures, each one created as a specific portrait of a key 20 th century musical figure. The show’s title pays homage to the record store on the first floor of the gallery’s building, and all the work in the exhibition was made specifically for and in dialogue with CvsD.
Dusty Groove presents four works concerned with two core ideas: kineticism and music. Each of the sculptures was conceived and constructed as a portrait of a specific musical figure – renegade composers John Cage and Harry Partch, jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, and extraterrestrial bandleader Sun Ra – incorporating deep research on diverse aspects of their work into the final object. McElheny was particularly interested in the question of motion, the fraught history of kinetic sculpture, and the way that movement – whether physical, sonic, or implied – shifts the perception of the object. Of course, as always, his work is elegant and meticulously made, with hand-blown glass as a centerpiece. McElheny pays assiduous attention to every detail and the results are spectacular, in this case carrying a bit of extra special funk.
A Chicago-based point of reference for McElheny was the craftsmanship and artistry of H.C. Westermann, whose influence is felt in the unpainted wood of the sculptures’ construction. These sculptures continue the artist’s ongoing investigation of the secret history of modernism and his subtle subversion of conventional techniques of presentation – shelves, pedestals, vitrines – in artistic display. Two of the pieces feature rotating elements, one is a sound sculpture with a new kind of glass speaker assemblage that McElheny is in fact applying for a USPTO patent (also in the exhibition is a developmental sketch for his “jazz loudspeaker” patent application), and the final sculpture is still and silent but invites contemplation of the latent possibility of motion inherent in its construction.
The exhibition also presents seven related drawings on vellum, graph paper, engineering forms and custom music staff paper. A full-color catalog with an essay by John Corbett and a bonus flexi-disc featuring recordings of John Cage and Sun Ra accompanies the show.
The phrase “Dusty Groove” is a registered trademark, and property of Dusty Holdings, LLC. The exhibition title Josiah McElheny: Dusty Groove is used with express permission of the trademark holders and is not affiliated with the business Dusty Groove.