Jane South, Shift, 2019
Jane South, Aside, 2020
*Created this Spring, Aside was not included in the original gallery installation of Switch Back.
Jane South, Doubled, 2020
*Created this Spring, Doubled was not included in the original gallery installation of Switch Back.
Jane South: Switch Back
Spencer Brownstone Gallery is pleased to announce Switch Back, Jane South’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery. The show will feature a striking departure from past sculptural work with fresh creations that lie between the second and third dimensions; hard and soft, form and perceived function.
South’s new work delves into the formal in-between in new and sophisticated ways. Her characteristic architectural forms and pseudo-industrial material are condensed. The past emphasis on three-dimensionality, accentuated by boxes and cages, are flattened into grids and swaths of subtle tones. Her signature paper and balsa wood constructs are replaced by tectonic assemblages of softer materials -canvas, tarp, packing foam, and thread. Once tight and opaque, the application of color is now painterly and reductive.
To see South’s work is to see objects from multiple perspectives and dimensions. Cutter, featuring a quilting of painted canvas and other fibrous materials is clearly a wall piece, however, the implied flatness is betrayed by foam and tarlatan protrusions, drooping thread, and shadows cast by grills and punctures. The work literally and figuratively hovers between the flat and the spatial.
The line too is imbued with dimensionality through the use of thread, especially evident in expressive fringing. As a material it is impossible to separate it from the labor of its use. Drawing and binding become the same action.
Furthermore, compression of form introduces the possibility of depiction. South’s work exhibits a patchwork of ubiquitous architectural and functional forms like the grid, the wheel, and the arch -their combination reminiscent of large control panels or fictional machines. If the dragon and fleur-de-lis, familiar icons of shields and banners, were replaced by new fetishes of modern industry, one might imagine something like South’s work.
"It’s been strange to think of my work hanging in the gallery, waiting for the world to get back to some form of normalcy. Meanwhile, having made large pieces for the show, I am now focusing on making some smaller works.
In a way, I think of these as being zoomed-in (remember, zoom used to mean something different before COVID!) extractions of the larger pieces.
If the larger works are worlds or continents, perhaps the smaller pieces are more at a street/architectural-detail level. It’s interesting this negotiation of scale when you are working with materials such as upholstery foam, thread, and fabric that have their own inherent scale. In smaller sized works this materiality is more visibly present so the balance of everything has to shift accordingly.
All of this feels like a bit of a metaphor for our current situation - because the world is no longer available to us, everything is more immediately and intimately located. Our relationship to this intimate view is therefore magnified as we have more time to scrutinize the everyday surroundings that we inhabit.
The work I’m now making seems to reflect this more immediate experience and I feel very lucky to be an artist - that I can still make work despite the circumstances is something I’m very grateful for."
Jane South, May 2020