...look again... it’s Still There. Kenneth Steinbach at The Gallery at Fox Tax.
Over time our perceptions change, even toward the most common parts of our lives. Kenneth Steinbach’s show Still There, currently on exhibit at Fox Tax Gallery in NE Minneapolis, addresses the subtleties of perception and seems to live out the change over the passing of time.
Steinbach’s work in this show consists mostly of large drawings made in an unconventional way. The images are drawn on and trapped inside of strata of resin where the lines are etched and inked, again and again, creating layer upon layer of repeated images of a single object until it becomes blurred and distorted. The images in this work are of everyday items repeated but subtly changed in scale, angle and in rendering of detail. They are drawn with simple, confident and accurate lines that give them a “matter of fact” appearance. Individually, the drawings would look like something taken from a mechanical draftsman’s table, never employing the use of shading, shadow or any gradation of value. The renderings themselves are completely made of hard, accurate line, giving them a practical physicality.
However, unlike each individual drawing, Steinbach’s use of layering makes these pragmatic objects feel ghostly. The images slowly dissipate into a murky-fog as they recede into the layers of milky resin. In negative space, cloudy apparitions of unknowns float in between the almost lard colored skins that make up these pieces.
The effect of this suggests of the passage of time, or the clouding of memory. Here we consider unchanged objects again and again. While the depictions are of a house or a pair of scissors or a typewriter, the sentiment could relate to any ordinary piece of our life which we relate to differently over time.
The way negative space is used in these resin works is nothing short of poetic. The profound emptiness which surrounds the drawn objects gives us a quiet space to think and dream in. Steinbach’s use of asymmetrical composition brings the objects’ importance into perspective; we see them as part of a larger universe.
The pictures I have posted here don’t do the originals justice. These pieces have a physical depth that doesn’t photograph well. You need to go to the gallery to completely understand of this work.
Of all the exhibitions I went to last year, this is my favorite. My words can’t capture the ethereal beauty of the work.
If you’ve never been to Fox Tax, this is the time to go. Fox Tax is a tax office (specializing in working with artists) which houses one of the Twin Cities Premier art galleries in its large, open lobby. It’s a strange and wonderful hybrid.
Go see the show. -JohnMegas