Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, New York, NY
Anthony Meier Fine Art, San Francisco, CA
David Gilbert photographs precarious, delicate situations in his studio, leaving us to wonder how long until a teetering installation collapses once his camera snaps a photo. His work straddles a line between documentation and portraiture: an accumulation of materials that feel personified support each other in various stages of their (still-) life cycles. Each frame captures the moment before unraveling. He explores the life span of commonplace materials such as paper-towel rolls and bits of cardboard, fabric, and string; tracing their presence from situation to situation, as the detritus from one installation is revived obliquely in another. The materials live on capable of having several lives and incarnations simultaneously: as sculpture, as photograph, as jpeg. Gilbert makes sculpture as a photographer, tactile yet flat, making reference to how we see images today: online, on screens, where they are perpetually refreshed and seen anew.
These “portraits" of objects playfully metamorphose on both conceptual and formal levels: His Little Flamer (2010) has fabric in acid colors erupting from a lowly cardboard paper-towel tube, which are finally extinguished in flat white paint. The soft textures and color palette of works such as Scary Mary (2010), Couple (2009), and Light Impressions (2008) assert aesthetic propositions less candidly. The carefully lit compositions reveal his intimacy with photography’s history: previous descriptions of his work refer to the chiaroscuro finesse of the Old Masters; photographs with pristine backgrounds suggest Richard Avedon’s portrait studio drop-cloths.
Gilbert has had solo exhibitions in New York at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery and NYU's Tisch School of Art and in Los Angeles at Workspace. His work has been included in group exhibitions in Los Angeles at ACME and Night Gallery and in New York at Andrea Rosen Gallery and Abrons Art Center.
Courtesy of Performa