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Flattening Reality: The Art of Michael Zelehoski

05.27.15 | By
Flattening Reality: The Art of Michael Zelehoski
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Artist Michael Zelehoski finds discarded wood objects, deconstructs them, and puzzles sections back together to create 2-dimensional representations of themselves… that look 3-dimensional. Explaining these anti-sculptures, on view now at Mike Weiss Gallery in New York, feels like debating a paradox, but the works themselves are effortlessly beautiful to view.

Edifice Rex, 2015

Edifice Rex, 2015

Edifice Rex, 2015 (detail)

Edifice Rex, 2015 (detail)

These are not wood veneers that are glued on top of a surface. Instead, Zelehoski is clamping and glueing “full depth” pieces of wood side-by-side like a jigsaw puzzle. The white or black “backgrounds” are simply cut-outs that fill in the gaps. (see photographs of the process at the bottom.)

Fault Lines, 2015

Fault Lines, 2015

The Ends Justify The Means, 2015

The Ends Justify The Means, 2015

The Ends Justify The Means, 2015 (detail)

The Ends Justify The Means, 2015 (detail)

Last Supper, 2015 (detail)

Last Supper, 2015 (detail)

Though difficult to see in photographs, the “backgrounds” are as interesting to me as the sections of raw wood. Look VERY closely at the white area in the detail image of “Last Supper” above (you might need to enlarge to full screen) to see the network of hairline cuts and sections that make up that space. Michael uses a table saw as his primary tool, which limits him to straight cuts, and I imagine he must also consider various angles to allow for proper clamping throughout the assembly process.

Snakes and Ladders, 2015

Snakes and Ladders, 2015

Snakes and Ladders, 2015 (detail)

Snakes and Ladders, 2015 (detail)

The following images were taken at the artist’s studio, courtesy of Mike Weiss Gallery.

Michael_Zelehoski_Mike_Weiss_10

Michael_Zelehoski_Mike_Weiss_11

Michael Zelehoski is a master of composition and design, but it’s the interplay between image and reality that makes these pieces so magical, and you can only experience that in person. Visit Mike Weiss Gallery if you can, or at the very least, pause the next time you see a discarded wood crate on the sidewalk. Life is pretty beautiful, and this show is a great reminder of that.

Michael_Zelehoski_Mike_Weiss_13

What: Michael Zelehoski: New Order
Where: Mike Weiss Gallery, 520 W 24th St, NYC
When: May 7 – June 20, 2015

All images courtesy Mike Weiss Gallery, New York

David Behringer visits over 200 galleries every month to uncover and share the most exciting contemporary art in New York today. Subscribe to his exclusive weekly newsletter at www.thetwopercent.com and learn about his private gallery tours. And be sure to check out his YouTube.