Mindy Solomon Gallery presents Material Catch by Dominique Labauvie and Celebrating Opposites by Michael Conrads, on view January 21st through March 4th, 2017, at the gallery: 8397 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, in Little River. An opening reception with the artists will take place Saturday, January 21st, from 6-9pm. Material Catch // Dominique Labauvie

The line informs us about the absent forms, as only the missing remain in our memories, our books, and in our images. The line attests to the desire of thought

(Dominique Labauvie)

Dominique Labauvie’s newest body of work is a series of sculptures and drawings focused upon ruin as subject, a theme often addressed in art history, and weighing heavily in Labauvie’s thinking, as ever-present in our society by way of environmental damage, cultural destruction, government, and concern for the future. In Labauvie’s view, material culture—the remains of what once was—is material evidence which aids in understanding the past.

Through his sculptures, the artist translates the concept of ruin as the reduction of form to its minimum, the line of the funambule (French for tightrope walker), and sculpts in metal as a mark in space. The sculptures are fabricated using small segments of forged steel, welded, as marks on paper would be joined in drawing.

The ground—any ground: earth, wood, or stone—hosts the forged lines, just as the landscape that for centuries has been mapped by rivers, roads, and highways. Drawing engraves the style of my sculpture. Drawing is one of the mental references of the sculpture, and in a sense it is a form of partnership.

My sculpture not only addresses the line as a record to ‘transport time into space,’ but it also manipulates the material nature of steel. Steel is actually not natural but a man-made material, with the exception of the iron meteorite that falls from the cosmos onto earth. From the mineral to the industrial product, we can say that steel is a pure product of human inventiveness and work. As Valery wrote in 1937, ‘What would we be without steel?

The floor of the studio where I work is a surface on which I move. The segments of the sculpture are laid out, unconnected and moving all the time without a predetermined direction, as in a drawing. As I work, the image appears and disappears—creating a kind of high and low tide of perception. The line and its speed, its texture, tension, or extension is found well within the nature of the steel; it constructs the different rhythms of its presence and names them. When a line bends, it slows down; as it expands, it suddenly appears as a flat surface: it carves out its presence in space like a black hole.

Labauvie’s sculptures are intended as a physical homage to the strength of survival. The Arrival is the last sculpture of this series, “a declaration of victory and love,” which makes a historic nod to the famous Birth of Venus by Botticelli.