"What my work is aiming at is, above all, realism: I pursue the inner, hidden reality, the very essence of objects in their own intrinsic fundamental nature." -- Constantin Brancusi
Sedi Pak's majestic, mysterious, and seductively strange wood sculptures and the architectural installations that evolve from them offer an array of satisfying paradoxes. They operate in several dimensions and speak multiple languages at once -- emotional and mathematical, natural and industrial, organic and artistic, spiritual and conceptual, esoteric and narrative, poetic and scientific, literal and symbolic, formal and material, of craft and technology. Her sculptural process is so labor intensive that it's positively performative; requiring precision engineering, endless patience, and Herculean handiwork to accomplish the weightless, effortlessly organic gestural surrealism of the final objects. But beyond an audacious statement on the persistent power of the handmade object and the salience of craftsmanship, these pieces also have profound personal meaning and a broader cultural message.
Her method of working with wood as both muse and material speaks to finding her ultimate inspiration among the elements, specifically with regard to the transformation of substance at the hands of time, art, and industry. Her imagery and style explore the tension between nature and culture; and her unique merging of technological and analog approaches yields objects which visually, energetically, and physically embody both. Her aesthetic and art historical context includes the works of sculptors like Tim Hawkinson, Buzz Spector, and Woods Davy; but also storytellers and illustrators like Lewis Carroll, Shel Silverstein, and Gene Roddenberry. Evoking the earthly fossil, the extraterrestrial landscape, the shedded skin, the petrified hive, the frozen lava flow, the striation of sediment and the rings of trees; as the lovingly planed, voluptuous biomorphism of the sculptures emerge from the floor and migrate to the wall, their installations expand into to fill the entire chamber with impossible delicacy, epic heft, illusion and rhythm in the language of architecture, which Brancusi called "inhabited sculpture."
Pak's previous and parallel series also explore the narrative of "the entire life of an object" -- pausing to notice every stage in the progressive incarnations of say a brown paper bag, or an apple. In the case of these sculptures, the "object" is the wood itself. Brancusi also said, "Matter must continue its natural life when modified by the hand of the sculptor." Pak might add, when modified by the entire unpredictable chain of events that take, for example, wood from being a living tree to a processed product to abstract fine art which itself approximates the arboreal. "I strive to illustrate the science of nature at work...creating platforms on which I can express and show creation and motion through definitive shape, designating moments," writes Pak. It's reminiscent of other things Brancusi used to say, like, "I don't sculpt a bird, I sculpt its ability to fly." In that spirit, Pak doesn't so much sculpt wood, as she sculpts its ability to be transformed.
New works are installed at SEDI PAK STUDIO, open now through May 7th. By appointment.
Silverlake address provided with rsvp.
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