Derek Eller Gallery is pleased to announce Dawn of the Looney Tune, an exhibition of recent sculpture by Michelle Segre.
Continuing her absurdist juxtapositions of materials, Segre’s new body of work accumulates unexpected objects (rocks, organ pipe, bread, mirror, etc.) to form sculptural compositions. These sculptures are imbued with a carnivalesque energy that reflects the unpredictability of our times. The largest works in this exhibition are held together by yarn, thread, string and wire. For Segre, the linear quality as well as immediacy of these materials function like drawing, allowing her to render frenetic gestures on a large scale. These lines form complex structural webs which ensnare and hold the amalgamations together, cumulatively forming monumental masses.
In the titular work of the exhibition, bright orange yarn fills out a spiraled armature containing green and purple dish sponges; the framework is adorned with carrots in various stages of decay. These carrots will be replaced throughout the exhibition in a process Segre calls “feeding the sculpture”. The idea of a work cannibalizing itself has persisted throughout Segre’s career. Imagery, subject matter, and older works by the artist are consistently reconfigured and then emerge as new mutations within her sculptures. These cycles mirror her continued interest and exploration of decomposition and renewal.
As well as manipulating and shaping materials in a traditional sense, Segre often creates scenarios for objects to transform themselves through processes of degeneration. In a group of sculptures here, cubed glass vessels serve as terrariums for the viewer to witness the lifespan of mold growing on loaves of bread. These loaves are perched atop neon aquarium gravel, which underscores their pet-like quality. Sealed and deprived of oxygen, mold will eventually die and come to rest in stasis as the final composition. Segre anthropomorphizes impermanent objects to highlight cycles of nature as they relate to our anxieties about the vulnerability of the human body. Here and throughout the exhibition, the seductive morbidity of organic decay is rendered in acid-colors and off-balanced gestures.
Michelle Segre lives and works in New York City. She has had recent solo exhibitions at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia PA and The University of Tennessee, Chattanooga TN. In 2017 her work was included in exhibitions at The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, Ceysson and Benetiere, Luxembourg as well as others. She is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and The Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, New York. Segre is a past recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and the Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. Dawn of the Looney Tune will be Segre’s seventh exhibition at Derek Eller Gallery.