Friday, February 24, 2012

Secondary Structures: Michael Zelehoski at Dodge Gallery (Final)

Michael Zelehoski's first solo exhibition at Dodge Gallery, Secondary Structures, explores the deconstruction of three dimensional objects into abstracted minimal two dimensional forms. The assemblages have a theme of excavation, demolition, and rebuilding. They are made from construction site materials such as pallets, two by fours, and wooden crates. These items were taken apart and cut thinly then arranged into abstract compositions. Their function becomes negated, however the physicality of their original forms remains. An example of this is Blue Pallets (2011). A shipping pallet was sliced into layers and then rearranged into a stack, reminiscent of the pallet piles you might find collected at the back of a lumber yard. 

A duality exists in the assemblages, some remaining close to the original forms of the objects, while others create an imagined illusionist space and depth through overlapping and multiple point perspective. The monochromatic backgrounds also create a sense of non-space, free of gravity and shadows, allowing such pieces as Crate (2011) to exist as an explosion of the original form, with more attention being paid to the shape of the object than its function. By reconstructing and framing these job site materials, their intricacies and flaws are highlighted, offering a sense of their histories. Scuffs and scratches that were ignored and expected in their original forms become detailed highlights and welcomed surprises in the final pieces, acknowledging their previous functions while defining their new purpose as art objects. Zelehoski successfully gives second life to these once three dimensional structures.


  1. This is a thorough review, which I enjoyed and related to the work we saw. The first sentence, though, feels more like a thesis sentence than an inviting intro to the work. You might consider immediately giving a brief, clear visual description and/or a judgment of the work before deconstructing it formally. I'm also curious that you touch on the masculine theme, but go no further--some readers, myself included, might not infer a connection between excavation and masculinity. I especially enjoy the poetic touch of the second paragraph, in phrases like "detailed highlights and welcome surprises."

  2. Nice job reviewing this show, in some ways I think that your review actually breathed life into an otherwise lifeless exhibit. I would say that in general the descriptions are a little wordy. By this I mean that you could convey the same feeling with fewer words, and be more selective about which ones you choose. "line and geometry" might be redundant, and "original form" might just be form. Over all great job, I feel like you have a great talent for description and criticism.