Backslash gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Object Permanence, the first solo show in France by American artist Michael Zelehoski. Zelehoski challenges our perception of the physical world by collapsing found objects into pictorial space. The resulting compositions can be representational or abstract but always imbue the humble, utilitarian objects that he appropriates with new perspective and significance.
Object Permanence will involve a series of dynamic works created from materials found on the streets of New York City and upstate New York. To create these complex assemblages, the artist has cut and joined the found materials sometimes hundreds of times, inlaying them within planes of black or white that traverse positive and negative space. The compositional fragments are tied together, literally and conceptually, by tensed cable, which disrupts traditional spatial delineations by transforming the actual into the graphic and vice versa.
This duality between three-dimensional reality and two-dimensional representation is at the crux of Zelehoski’s work; it points to a deeper reconciliation of mind and reality. Object Permanence unhinges the fixed reality of objects, unveiling instead their dynamic existence born within the perceptive faculties of our minds. The very act of visualization involves a mental process of isolation and abstraction that turns the perceived object into an archetype. Zelehoski’s work is a literal manifestation of this phenomena in which every object remains unique. By distilling an object in the picture plane, it becomes both a projection of reality as well his mental image of it. When confronting the object – now autonomous from the rest of space and abstracted by the artist’s creative lens – we re-evaluate not only its aesthetic significance, but also the aesthetic potential of yet-to-be-found objects outside of the gallery.
Zelehoski has been working in this direction for almost a decade. His return to the United States after years in South America coincided with the collapse of his early sculptural work into two-dimensional space. He has since exhibited on four continents. He has received a variety of awards for his work, including from the Staten Island Museum and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
His monumental work, Open House, has just been added to the permanent collection at the Centre Pompidou National Museum of Modern Art in Paris.