Rob Wynne: THE UNDERSIDE OF A LEAF
GAVLAK Palm Beach
February 24 – March 24, 2024
GAVLAK Palm Beach is pleased to announce The Underside of a Leaf, an exhibition of new and historical works by acclaimed New York-based artist Rob Wynne. The exhibition will showcase a selection of Wynne's iconic poured glass pieces, archival photograms, and text-based works from the 1970s and 1980s. This presentation coincides with the release of "Obstacle Illusion," Wynne’s monograph published by Gregory R. Miller & Co.
Wynne, who was born in 1948, has been a dynamic figure in the art world for nearly five decades. His diverse body of work spans a variety of mediums, including glass, textile, installation, sculpture, and digital photography. Wynne is recognized for his alchemical approach to art, experimenting with materials like hand-poured and mirrored glass to create large-scale installations. In recent years, he has delved into molten glass, incorporating words and phrases detached from their original contexts, resulting in cryptic and contradictory meanings.
Anchoring this presentation are Rob Wynne's acclaimed poured glass works, created between 2022 and 2023, serving as a testament to his unparalleled mastery in manipulating glass as a medium. These pieces showcase Wynne's ability to transcend the material's inherent qualities and explore the boundaries of liquid nature and transparency, creating intricate and captivating visual narratives. Each glass work becomes a vessel for Wynne's artistic expression, deftly shaping molten glass into forms that evoke a delicate dance between solidity and fluidity.
Simultaneously, these glass works function as a manifestation of Wynne's exploration of language, materiality, and the interplay between form and meaning. Wynne often borrows words or phrases detached from their original contexts, such as ‘together’ and ‘masquerade’, resulting in cryptic or contradictory meanings. This intentional ambiguity encourages viewers to interpret the texts subjectively, fostering a sense of engagement and dialogue. For instance, in the work “Mirror Mirror on the Wall” (2023), Wynne borrows the famous line from Snow White’s fairy tale, playing on the word ‘mirror’ by flipping it horizontally, the same way an image would be reflected in the material itself.
In addition to the contemporary glass works, The Underside of a Leaf brings together early stages of Wynne's artistic journey. Archival photograms and text-based works from the 1970s and 1980s will be interspersed with more recent works, shedding light on the artist's formative years and showcasing the evolution of his distinctive visual language. These historical works reveal Wynne's experimentation with diverse materials and techniques, including embroidery, paint, thread, and industrial materials, reflecting his continuous exploration of the boundaries between kitsch and beauty, sappiness and profundity.
An integral figure in the Downtown NYC scene since the 1970s, Wynne is described by A.M. Homes as an "art world insider who is an outsider." His background is deeply rooted in the dynamic cultural landscape of the 1970s, where he emerged as a significant figure associated with the Fluxus movement—and was personally influenced by Ray Johnson. Wynne's early experiences with Fluxus and Johnson's mentorship significantly shaped his approach, fostering a commitment to experimental practices and interdisciplinary collaborations that would become hallmarks of his artistic journey. His enduring influence from this period is evident in the diverse mediums he has explored, from poured glass works to text-based pieces, showcasing a career marked by continual innovation and a willingness to challenge artistic norms.
Text by Alejandro Jassan