NEW YORK – Craig Starr Gallery is pleased to present AFTERGLOW, a selection of works by American glass, textile, and installation artist Rob Wynne (b. 1948), upon the publication of Obstacle Illusion. This major new monograph collects five decades of Wynne’s explorations of language, material, and history and is forthcoming in October 2023 from Gregory R. Miller & Co. The solo exhibition is a collaboration between Craig Starr Gallery and GAVLAK.
Opening at Craig Starr Gallery September 19 from 5 to 7 pm and on view September 5 through October 14, the exhibition AFTERGLOW will feature four of the artist’s iconic poured glass pieces (2022–2023), alongside a selection of archival photograms and text-based works from the 1970s and 1980s. The opening reception will include early-release copies of the monograph.
Obstacle Illusion is the first comprehensive and fully illustrated publication on the artist’s work, spanning the 1970s to the current day and tracking Wynne’s development from early paintings and collages to a recent exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It features new texts by noted American novelist A.M. Homes and independent curator Michael Duncan alongside an interview with NYC living treasure Linda Yablonsky.
Titled after a slip-of-the-tongue uttered by a New York City taxi driver on a rainy late-night trip across town in the late 1990s, Obstacle Illusion highlights Wynne’s brilliant, fundamental engagement with chance, thought, and language throughout his practice. His work ranges from playful or punning early works like a self-addressed Western Union telegram reminding himself “I AM STILL ALIVE” to later drawings and paintings made with ephemeral or untraditional materials like smoke, thread, and sequins, to sculptural installations featuring silkscreen prints, embroidered suits, and gorgeous, perplexing phrases made of molten, mirrored glass. Wynne has spent the last five decades challenging the normative processes of making art. Steeped in literary and philosophical ideas and references, his work plays equally with illusion and allusion, employing a “through-the-looking-glass” sense of curiosity and wit to inquire into the “how” of how things are made.
Moving fluently, sometimes subversively, between expressive, potentially “outsider” materials, Wynne is perhaps best-known for his unique, freehand method of “drawing” shapes, abstract compositions, and phrases with poured, molten glass. Investigating both its liquid nature and transparency, he mirrors the back of the glass pieces, creating a poetic effect in which light reflects the textured surface. AFTERGLOW brings the expanse of Wynne’s work into a new retrospective light.
An integral figure in the Downtown NYC scene since the 1970s, “Rob Wynne is an art world insider who is an outsider,” according to A.M. Homes, “an artist whose work is a commentary on a commentary, an autobiography not just of an individual but of an era.… Wynne is engaged in conversation not with the individual, but more specifically the ether of our culture, the essence of the time we are living in. It is as though the scent of a moment, the psychic perfume that is both aphrodisiac and hallucinogenic, creates a slightly elevated, altered state where beauty, drama (trauma), pleasure, and pain are of a piece or place. This is where he is most often found.”
All images courtesy of the artist and GAVLAK Los Angeles / Palm Beach