Voluptuous, Puffy Art Touches Down in NYC

Puffiness becomes a valued artistic quality in this group exhibition at Rachel Uffner Gallery
August 9, 2016, 12:30pm
Figure #1-10, Samara Golden, 2016. All images courtesy of the artists and Rachel Uffner Gallery.

An abstract foam sculpture, a group of bloated glow-in-the-dark skeletons, and a rock-climbing painting relief share little in common with one another, yet they are all a part of Puff Pieces, an ongoing group exhibition at Rachel Uffner Gallery. The works of the eight artists on display don't share a particular overarching conceptual or topical alignment, nor do they make a grand, singular statement on digital culture or capitalism. Instead, they share a single common trait: their puffy forms.

Pedestrian, Jayson Musson, 2014

This highly visual and tactile exhibition is curated by Feelings, a new art collaborative making their debut in the curatorial game. For the exhibition, Feelings has brought on a roster of iconic artists including Lynda Benglis and legendary sculptor John Chamberlain, as well as younger, equally innovative artists hitting the full stride of their careers like Jayson Musson and Justin Adian. Brand new works created for the exhibition and iconic pieces from the 60’s and 70’s come together in Puff Pieces, an unusual mix for a gallery show that is indicative of the focus on form, above all else, in this exhibition.

Springtime for Henry Grimes, Guy Goodwin, 2016

“When we were first approached by Rachel Uffner, she asked us to put together a show based on our publication Feelings: Soft Art, which focuses on intangible soft themes and a wider ranger of physical soft qualities,” tells Loren Olson, a member of Feelings, to The Creators Project. “We narrowed the scope of physical softness to fit Rachel’s space and went with the quality of puffiness because its physicality is so upfront. Puff Pieces refers to the exaggerated surfaces of these works, but also to the singular and subjective act of expression unchecked by opposing points of view”

Puff Pieces Installation View, 2016

Organizing a show with a formal focus is a calculated departure from the topic-heavy exhibitions that seem to dominate the gallery scene as of late. Olson believes that such an approach allows for certain curatorial advantages: “By organizing a show around a physical quality, we can directly address the elements of a work that strike our senses first. We can also draw attention to the practices and methods artists use to create a singular characteristic.”

House 1, Erwin Wurm, 2011

“A quality-based approach gives us the chance to include artists that might never present together under more traditional circumstances. The intention is to give viewers a range of experiences centered on that one characteristic, hopefully as a useful gateway into the works, the artists, and their own process of looking,” adds Olson.

Untitled, John Chamberlain, 1967

Untitled, Lynda Benglis, 1970

Puff Pieces will be on view at New York’s Rachel Uffner Gallery until August 12th.


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