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  •  REVIEW: REBECCA WELZ: STEEL KITES

      Fish in Rebecca Welz: Steel Kites
       Courtesy of June Kelly Gallery
      Fish
    Hung Steel

    Dual arcs connected by colored plates, dangle, dazzle and bewitch in Rebecca Welz's newest direction.

    By JEFFREY CYPHERS WRIGHT
    Offoffoff.com


    Soar, they do, these "Steel Kites," these mobiles and wall-mounted sculptures that Rebecca Welz has made. This latest group pushes Welz's longstanding concerns with presenting planes to a new height, literally. She suspends the most ambitious of them from the ceiling. Squares of steel are set at fairly regular intervals between two curved rods and mounted on the wall or hung. The squares are first bent or "folded" at the edges in a precise way evoking messages or codes. As a youngster, Welz spent time in Japan where she was exposed to the local tradition of using paper to make brightly colored banners, hanging origami, and fanciful kites.

    REBECCA WELZ
    Exhibition: Steel Kites.
    Works by: Rebecca Welz.
     SCHEDULE
    March 23 - May 3, 2005

    Gallery: June Kelly Gallery
    591 Broadway
    New York NY
    Hours: Tue.-Sat.11-6
    Phone: (212) 226-1660

      
    Regarding herself as both a sculptor and a painter, Welz says of this new work that kites "are as much about color as they are about form." Previously, Welz used Plexiglas, which admitted a bit of translucency. The steel that has replaced it, uncannily hints at a similar property due to Welz's labor-intensive treatment of her colors and the jewel-like settings. She rubs and sands the surfaces to generate a dull polish that resonates with personality. It's as if the artist had transfused part of her essence into the pigment by spending so much time honing it.

    The "light" effect of the material has much to do with the grace with which Welz has arranged it. A Zen-like effect begins with the simple union of opposites, of the curves and the right angles. This architecture of basic contrasts is enhanced by her palette. Prussian blue and Grecian green... sable sienna, warm orange and savory yellow. The works pull us in by virtue of their calmness, not their clamor. That is not to say the pieces are without drama and flair.

      Hoop in Rebecca Welz: Steel Kites
       Courtesy of June Kelly Gallery
      Hoop
    A paradoxical tension is ever present, testifying to a successful transformation — an alchemical alteration from unbending to pliable — from rigid to fluid. This is especially evident in the "mobiles". Of course the grand work of Alexander Calder generates expectations of the commanding medium, such as girth and animation. Welz clearly cuts out her own territory here. Her pieces float in tandem, not random. They are bound in a sort of dance as they move, and they move you with their seamless interface between shapes and colors. "Side Sweep" could be a pas de deux in a ballet.


      
    This latest group pushes Welz's longstanding concerns with presenting planes to a new height.  

      
    In another large mobile, "Twisted Kite," the steel rods appear to trace an impossible trajectory. The way the two are curved forces the squares into a sequence that is unexpected and fraught with delicate resolve. In "Fish" the clearly animated plates of steel appear to be leaping up as if they were in a school. One mobile, "Hoop" differed from all of the other works. It did not have a sensuous arc. It "stood" apart almost ominously and maybe this is the next direction for Welz, to actually make free-standing pieces.

      
      Her pieces float in tandem...bound in a sort of dance...
      
    For now though, the direction points toward sanctuaries and secular cathedrals, such as a vaulting ceiling in a huge airport. As "Side Sweep" turned slowly like a Phoenician galley (or a strand of DNA, or a wedding ring, or a "steel kite") it seemed to carry majesty, to bear a noble aspect that bespoke of discipline and vision. In the end, these pieces are charming but tough. Their free spirit is buoyed by design.

    APRIL 13, 2005
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Rebecca Welz: Steel Kites:

  • Rebecca Welz "Steel Kites"   from Jacqueline Moss, Apr 14, 2005
  • Re: Rebecca Welz   from , May 3, 2005
  • Rebecca Welz   from Stan K, Jul 26, 2005
  • could we be related?   from marlene welz, Jan 31, 2007
  • long ago   from Ginny Luedeman, Jul 22, 2008

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