APRIL–MAY 2009LEE STOETZEL Big Fall
Mixed Greens is thrilled to announce Big Fall, Lee Stoetzel’s fourth solo show with the gallery. All of the sculptural works are instantly recognizable icons rendered in wood.
For nearly a decade, Stoetzel has reworked memorable icons—like the VW bus and the “Captain America” chopper from Easy Rider—out of Pecky cypress, a naturally degraded wood from his home state of Florida. Each piece was created at a scale of 1:1. As the viewer investigated the craftsmanship, the familiar object was transformed and rediscovered.
In this show, Stoetzel increases his range of materials to include fractured mesquite, veneer, and spalted maple (where the naturally occurring lines in the wood appear to be graphite drawings). He broadens his range of subjects to include McDonald’s food, a Chuck Close catalog, a single-speed bicycle, and a system of gutters and leaves. The scale of each piece is warped often to ‘Oldenburgian’ proportions. For example, Stoetzel’s forty-eight-inch French fry sculpture, Hard Fries, becomes a conceptually fitting counterpart to Oldenburg’s Soft Hamburger from 1962.
Big Fall derives it’s title from Stoetzel’s largest installation to date—a winding lattice of oversized veneer gutters wrapping around the gallery, spilling oversized leaves onto the floor. Big Fall also refers to the failure and re-imagining of cultural emblems. Each of Stoetzel’s iconic subjects is purposefully built with harshly formed, degraded wood so that the pieces look fossil-like and frozen in time—tired and nostalgic, yet instantly recognizable. The power of the natural materials calls attention to the temporary predicament of the manmade, while the iconic nature of each piece fights to remain vital.
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