Review: Scott Nedrelow, View Finder

Review: Scott Nedrelow, View Finder

Anders Hamilton reviews Scott Nedrelow's show, View Finder - closing soon

Three flat screen TVs turned upright, standing as sculptures occupy the floor space of the gallery. Each work consists of just a few materials: ultra high definition TVs, inkjet prints on Epson photo paper, and Savage seamless backdrops. With this selective list of materials, all of which pertain to the documentation of images and objects, Nedrelow creates succinct but complex works reflecting on the act of viewing.


Scott Nedrelow, View Finder Sculpture (13 Banana), 2016, courtesy of David Petersen Gallery.


    A yellow TV screen stands a few inches from the wall, angled outwards like a hinged door. It rests on top of a sheet of glossy yellow photo paper, which continues up the wall like a sweeping backdrop, making the screen seem like an oversized sculpture ready to be photographed. But the screen is not just emitting solid yellow light, nor is the light stagnant. It is a video loop, the main subject of which is the yellow sheet of photo paper the TV stands on. Like a clock without the steady reassurance of a ticking seconds hand, the viewer must engage with the looping video for a few minutes to see that time is indeed passing as light shifts within the frame of view. Depending on the angle from which this piece is viewed the photo paper on the screen aligns perfectly with the paper in physical space. The screen begins to function more like a frame, creating the illusion that it reveals what is directly behind it. 

    A link is created from the artist’s studio, where the video was filmed, to the gallery space where the sculpture has been installed. Like a portal into Nedrelow’s workspace, natural light from his studio window enters the gallery. Overhead hang fluorescent tubes, ubiquitous among art galleries, doing their job to provide consistent sterile light. The light emitted from the TV screen impedes upon this familiar lighting. The poetic gesture of transferring studio light into the gallery becomes equally as sterile as the fluorescent tubes lining the ceiling. But it is not often that a sculpture is viewed in the light present during its creation even if it is supplied by an ultra high definition TV. The work calls attention to the act of viewing and the role light plays when creating and documenting art.

Scott Nedrelow, View Finder, Installation view. Courtesy of David Petersen Gallery.


    View Finder Sculpture (07 Redwood) stands a few feet away. The screen is connected to a wooden panel, making a supportive v-shaped structure. Red as in Redwood Seamless Paper produced by the photographic backdrop company Savage has been mounted to the wood panel. The TV plays another looping video where light lazily passes through the artist’s studio. Nedrelow complicates the role of the Savage backdrop giving it equal real estate in both two and three-dimensional space. In the two dimensional realm of video, the paper supplies a backdrop for the documentation of light. It reappears in three-dimensional space, mounted to a panel functioning as a structural support for the TV. An inseparable link between image and object is created as the artist fluidly transforms photography and video into sculpture.  A third View Finder work at the opposite end of the gallery engages in the same sort of dimensional play, this time using a Stone Gray seamless backdrop.


Scott Nedrelow, Camera Ready (07 Redwood), 2016. Courtesy of David Petersen Gallery.


    The Camera Ready series consists of just two materials, Savage seamless paper and inkjet prints. Three deep-set wall boxes frame Savage backdrops of various colors: 47 Baby Blue, 13 Banana, and 09 Stone Gray. The backdrops are mounted flush to the top of the box, while the ends hang freely, naturally curling upwards revealing their past form as a tightly wrapped tubes. Rather than using the Savage paper as a backdrop for the production of images, the paper itself becomes the subject of a photo. Nedrelow has photographed each Savage backdrop and printed it on an elongated piece of glossy Epson photo paper. The photos hang in front of the corresponding color of Savage backdrop paper. In this way the photos exist somewhere between object and image. Their placement in front of the seamless backdrop, like objects ready to be photographed, implies a sculptural identity. However they retain a shimmering photographic quality from the high gloss Epson paper. They are framed and wall mounted like consumable images, yet they bend and curl taking on subtle dimensionality. The artist once again morphs images into sculpture. 

    Within these two bodies of work Nedrelow cunningly navigates through two and three-dimensional space, contorting the pre-established borders of sculpture, photography, and video.  Although the dimensional play is initially alluring the work follows a didactic structure. Each sculpture in the View Finder series employs the same basic format. A backdrop is used in the documentation of changing light within the artist’s studio. The video is turned into a loop and played on a TV, which is connected to the backdrop paper used in the filming. The only significant variable is color, red, yellow, or gray, they essentially do the same thing. The materials remain deeply rooted in a formal discourse and so does the content, making for a stagnant conversation. The Camera Ready series follows a similar format, three Savage seamless backdrops have been photographed, the photographs are then displayed in front of the corresponding backdrops, inhabiting a peculiar space between object and image. This undefined gray area between two and three dimensions generates curiosity, but the repetitious format of synchronized triptychs immediately familiarizes this space diminishing its novelty.


More about the show at David Peterson Gallery.

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