Stay Close To Me, It Will Be Dark Soon
The Boiler, Pierogi (191 N. 14th St)
Art Review by Martin Esteves
Closed for most of the summer, Pierogi Gallery’s Boiler Space reopened with a show that has the space reflecting outward to space as if in anticipation of the longer, contemplative nights ahead.
For his second solo show there John Stoney has grouped video, sculpture, and pyrographs (burnt wood drawings) for a kind of curio box housing mementos and evidence of our solar system and how earthly materials echo these larger passing orbits.
Videos depicting the “Speed of the Earth” localize views of the moon and night sky from varying northern American vantage points. The gaze skyward here is made specific because the moon passes at different speeds depending on where the viewer is. The biggest screen shows the moon rolling by from the 41st Parallel. In sort of a pre-Galilean standpoint, Stoney has the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn, only in existence from and for the view of the observer.
The three sculptures in the show then become even more subjective and ‘grounding’. Placed at two corners and the center of the large dark room, they make personal objects of even the sky. Corner Piece #2 is a pile of stones collected from upstate New York but here becomes souvenir moonrock.
My Father’s Sky is a wonderfully made diorama of the night sky over water made with fiber optic tubing as a stand in for the stars. The scene is said to be the view from Galveston Texas on October 16, 1965. Is the time and place important for us to know? Not so much as the need to depict and build something for one’s own personal affirmation.
The centerpiece of the show, and perhaps the oddest addition, is Nocturne. A Corinthian column stands twelve feet tall in the center of the room with a woodpecker holding on just below the top uneven portion of the pillar. Made of polymerized gypsum and covered in silver leaf, Nocturne takes the show into surreal narrative. The one “invented” image in the show reinforces the need for tangible and landed reference while going in a different direction. When looking inward and not upward, the artist still has to unify subject with scenario. Could an extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker claw on to a marble column (never mind peck it’s top part loose)? It could if they were both made from the same stuff.