New Work: Spatial Drawings

Exhibit Dates: 
May 26, 2012 - Aug 26, 2012
Constance S. and Robert J. Hennessy Project Space

Emily Hermant’s minimalist sculptures challenge our perceptions of material and form. Bending wooden boards into slack, slumping shapes, the artist creates the illusion of movement using a typically rigid material. Having studied textile art, Hermant applies fiber’s properties such as flexibility and pliability to wood, re-imagining it as cut thread sewn through the gallery wall. In this sense, Hermant introduces small scale, traditional craft into large-scale and historically male-dominated sculptural traditions. Hermant’s installation also suggests a lyrical line drawing in space.

According to the artist: 

“In my recent large-scale sculptures, I focus on the processes of material and spatial transformation. These new sculptural works are made of interconnected, hand-bent, hardwood planks whose curves and twists create swirling, energetic, spatial drawings.... The unexpected tension of the shaped wood and the configurations and treatment of these forms present the viewer with contradictions: on the one hand, between material and form, and on the other hand, between the made and the process of making.”


Although strategically balanced and self-supporting, Hermant’s structures seem tenuously poised against the surrounding architecture. Reminiscent of Richard Serra’s early sculptures such as Corner Prop (1969) and Stand Point (1987), Hermant installs industrial lumber in precarious configurations that resonate as weightless, poetic abstractions. Without nails or glue, her forms adhere to one another in a structured visual language that signifies both softness and strength. 

-Maiza Hixson 

Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art