David Gilbert, Coming of Age @von Nichtssagend

JTF (just the facts): A total of 9 color photographs, alternately pinned directly to the wall and framed in white and matted, and hung in the entry hallway and the single room gallery space. All of the works are archival pigment prints made in 2013. Physical dimensions range from roughly 8×5 (in editions of 5) to 80×60 (unique), with the larger images available in intermediate sizes (22×17, in editions of 5, and 50×33, in editions of 3). (Installation shots below.)

Comments/Context: Images of artists’ studios have long been a part of photographic history, documenting both works in progress and finished products in the physical space in which they were created. David Gilbert’s studio photographs expand that simple idea into something more indeterminate, where the lines between construction, installation, and chance placement are blurred. His images capture seemingly ephemeral sculptures in the midst of a cluttered workspace, where object and environment meld together photographically.

Several of Gilbert’s constructions play with lines of yarn, swooping and dangling in cascades (particularly in Web Site) or gathering into tangled knots (in Yarnia). Strips of fabric hang from these highwires, like gossamer moss from an ancient tree. Everyday objects further punctuate the space: a pink plastic bucket, a roll of tape, a pair of scissors, a pot of tulips, offset and supported by gauzy fabrics and gridded bedsheets. When flattened by the eye of the camera, the lines and forms interact in complex mixtures of hard and soft.

Gilbert’s careful use of light helps to give these assemblages a sense of grace. Pure light streams in, from the bright white of dawn to smoky red of sunset, bringing different moods to the layers of debris. In the end, the chaos of the studio feels surprisingly controlled, each image a set piece of staged textures.

Collector’s POV: The works in this show are priced as follows, based on size. The 8×5 prints are $1000, the 22×17 prints are $1200, the 50×33 prints are $3500, and the $80×60 prints are $8000. Gilbert’s work has little secondary market history at this point, so gallery retail remains the best option for those collectors interested in following up.

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