Since the 1970's B. Wurtz has collected and repurposed commonplace found objects such as socks, plastic bags, shoelaces and mesh bags, alongside more traditional art materials as wood and marble, making low materials into icons of ordinariness through these juxtapositions. A 1973 drawing entitled Three Important Things which states "sleeping, eating and keeping warm", set the parameters for the materials Wurtz would go on to use in his aesthetic investigation of the mundane. His work channels the possibilities of everyday materials, never allowing the viewer to lose sight of what they are made from and how they are put together, providing evidence of both their formal quality and their function. He humbly seeks to dismantle the conventions of plastic discipline and finds order in things that are otherwise society's jetsam. His sculptures recall the understated language of the objet trouvé, but with distinctive profundity and wit. Among the works on view will be new works from a series referred to as "pan paintings".
These wall works are made from aluminum food containers and roasting pans that pass through every home. By painting over the patterns and texts on the exterior of the pans with various colors of acrylic paint, Wurtz transforms these disposable pans into something valuable. Wurtz additionally created a group of works in handmade paper during his LabGrant Program residency at Dieu Donné in New York.
"Most of my works are fairly simple arrangements. It often takes a longtime to get them where I want, but sometimes it's just a matter of a minor tweak that clinches it all. I don't want to obscure what the objects are. I like that there is inherent meaning attached to them in terms of their use-value, but ultimately I want the work to be formal, nearly classical." (B. Wurtz as told to Lauren O'Neill-Butler for 500Words, Artforum.com, June 2013)
B. Wurtz was born in 1948 in Pasadena, California, received his BA from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970 and his MFA fromCalifornia Institute of the Arts in 1980. Recent solo exhibitions include The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead; MetroPictures, New York; Kunstverein Freiburg, Freiburg; The AldrichContemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield; Maisterralvabuena, Madrid; RichardTelles, Los Angels; Kate MacGarry, London; Gregor Podnar, Berlin and White Flag Projects, St. Louis. He currently lives and works in NewYork.
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