Phoebe Washburn
Temperatures in a Lab of Superior Specialness

30 June to 29 July 2011
745 Fifth Avenue


In collaboration with Zach Feuer Gallery

Mary Boone Gallery, in collaboration with Zach Feuer Gallery, is pleased to present two exhibitions by PHOEBE WASHBURN: Temperatures in a Lab of Superior Specialness, an exhibition of new sculpture at Mary Boone Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue, and Nunderwater Nort Lab, a site-specific installation at Zach Feuer Gallery in Chelsea. Phoebe Washburn’s work explores generative systems based on absurd patterns of production often created by inefficiency. The rules that govern Washburn’s systems of production inform her sculpture and installation formally as well as conceptually.

In Nunderwater Nort Lab, Washburn has devised a site and context specific installation that juxtaposes two seemingly unrelated activities - art and lunch. Lunch is a daily activity, often overlooked, that occasionally infiltrates the gallery art viewing experience. In this installation, visitors will smell lunch as well as observe it being made and eaten inside the installation. The main structure, composed of blocks of scrap wood that have been repurposed and then ordered from previous installations, contains observational ‘worm holes’ that extend into the structure from which visitors can glean, in addition to hear and smell, bits of the activities occurring inside. In Washburn’s work, everyday objects and activities are reinterpreted to create appreciation for process and experience.

Washburn’s titles often play on the sounds and meanings of words. In previous works, the subject was designated ORT, a gibberish word that played on the word art. In these works, viewers were encouraged to participate in the system; the system was open to outside influences. The key word in the new work is Nort. Although volunteers are integral to the system, the structure is neither open to the viewer nor involves the viewer’s participation in the work. It is, instead, closed to external influences.

At Mary Boone Gallery, Washburn will present new sculpture. These works, like the installation, are composed of material that has been repurposed from previous installations including tables, wood, garden hose, painted rocks and dyed shells. These works address not only formal concerns but, as in the installations, create a delicate and precarious balancing act between process, production and product.