Sarah Stevenson : Before the Storm

Hannibal de Pencier
Fonderie Darling, Montréal
April 22–August 22, 2021
Sarah Stevenson Before the Storm, exhibition view, Fonderie Darling, Montréal, 2021.
Photo: Simon Belleau
Fonderie Darling, Montréal
April 22–August 22, 2021
[En anglais]
Hanging voluminously—yet nearly imperceptibly—from the ceiling of Fonderie Darling’s main hall, Sarah Stevenson’s sculptures compel unique ways of conceptualizing the absence and presence of form. The six works in her exhibition Before the Storm float weightlessly in the vast industrial space, evoking massive organic yet mechanical objects. The mid-career Montréal-based artist uses vibrant metal wire and fishing line to create diagrammatic sculptures, which, in their weightlessness, transform the air of the hall into a substance—a medium filling the space within and around their skeletal forms. Recalling Ruth Asawa’s woven mesh sculptures, they precipitate the sort of phenomenological engagement with space which high-Minimalism could only have achieved through conspicuously weighty impositions—a self-conscious viewing experience, in which one is compelled to circumnavigate the sculptures in order to comprehend their entirety, becoming aware of one’s own relational presence in the process.

Before the Storm features Stevenson’s largest and most ambitious works to date from her ongoing Wireframe series, begun in 1997, in which bulbous organic shapes are set in dialogue with the geometric, quasi-mathematical precision of their framing. Their form plainly conveys their conceptual origins and subsequent process of creation whereby Stevenson transfers two-dimensional grid diagrams into three-dimensional skeletons. By working in this visual language of architectural precision, Stevenson’s sculptures ask us to consider their existence as pure concept—as that which remains constant between the diagram and the hypothetical solid to which it alludes.

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