Apr 17, 2010

'Old Hills' Edward Master at Las Manos Gallery

Viewers may remember Edward Master's large-scale paper wall pieces, first introduced at the Crazy 8 show and reviewed here, with their cascading fields of vibrant patterns, exuberantly detailed forms stitched together into landscapes of pattern and huge shield-like shapes. One of the many references one might take from them was a fleeting sense of aerial views.

In "Old Hills", an installation of eight sculptures currently presented at The Evidence Against Us, a group show at the Los Manos Gallery, Master returns to the obsessively detailed while expanding this sense of the landscape from above. The artist creates, in miniature, glacial mountains from arctic landscapes, including a timely lava-flowing volcano. Presented handsomely on a low white pedestal, the work creates a swooning sense of seeing a mountain landscape from high above.

Unlike the brightly colorful paper pieces, these small wool mountains explore an astonishing range of similar muted cool color tones, creating a verisimilitude to the natural world in their color restraint. The use of carefully chosen colored embroidery threads add even more detail to these three-dimensional constructions. This sense of cool ice and ground is visually exploded by the juxtaposition of one larger mountain covered with varying shades of red, and the speckled red 'lava' on others, creating a visual shock to the eye that both subdues and enhances the reference to the real world.

These fabric sculptures are constructed from recycled wool sweaters, cut into small jagged strips, then soaked and hand-dyed with acrylic paints thinned with water. Each small felted-wool strip is painstakingly hand-stitched with embroidery thread into larger plate-like shapes, backed with fabric, then sewn together around hidden interior wire forms, creating beautifully abstracted mountains.

Beside a conceptual irony and humor in presenting hard mountains and earth in soft wool, and conflating the gigantic into the small, the work reveals an aesthetic delight in the real world. As individual pieces, each is a wonder of detail and beauty, as a whole they present a startling prescient sense of the power and majesty in geologic forms.

While beyond the scope of this review, the entire group show is quite interesting and handsomely curated, and should be seen before it ends next Sunday April 25th.

The Evidence Against Us
Edward Master and other artists
Las Manos Gallery
Show ends this April 25th.  
5220 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 728-8910
Hours: Sat and Sun 12-5, or by appointment
Las Manos Gallery
Las Manos Gallery BLOG 

Edward Master on Crazy 8 

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