_EXHIBITION ESSAYS

Exhibition Essay, Michael Needham, August 2012

Michael Needham, Between the Object and the Shadow

Daine Singer Gallery, August – September 2012

Michael Needham

A sweet and beautiful sadness. The velvet cloak of memory and loss falling at the speed of life. A palpable gravitas, a force of weight in dense silence, tugging gently on my organs. These are the first contemplations of my encounter with Michael’s work. A bodily reaction felt in inner space.

Feeling his cast lead branches sit heavily in my hands at his studio I feel like I am among slow moving planetary objects. These conjured works are gravitational. And it’s not just the materiality, the weight of rock, steel and lead. It’s a force inside the works. A pull. As if you are falling toward them. Now they exist beyond their place of making and orbit in the world.

My teeth sit consciously in my jaw. I feel my mortality. My tongue feels my cavities. I could be standing in the mist, my feet damp on an autumnal ground. Searching for what brought me here. Seeing only a fleeting recognition of self in the foggy mirror of my past. All the more aware of my body standing here.

An icon of identity sits floating on a softened field. A universal face or an unmarked finger print. I prick my conscience on thoughts of the void. A void so present it takes form as absence and fills me with a grappling need to connect. To something. To nothing. To everything.

For all the density that sits inside the works there is an undercurrent of tectonic, alchemical shift. Transition is in play. A passage is cast in shadows, and fragments remain of pathways in decay. Lead dulls and steel rusts. Marble crumbles and teeth rot. The branches reminding us that growth will continue to fight on. Leading edges searching for light, bleeding out into space like ink spills. Veins creeping through translucent rock surfaces.

A rose has no teeth but plants have chewed the rocks and made them soil. We came from the trees and always will belong to them. Raised up from the rich dirt, the fabric of our collective origin, we too continue to sprout. We grow and we become. With memory cast in stone and steel, life will forge itself in light and soil. Onward. Forward. And forever more.

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