by William Corwin
As a conceptual artist with interests in literature, painting, sculpture, drawing, embroidery, and glass making, Wynne works in a range of media with a particular interest in a material’s ability to transform. His signature wall reliefs are comprised of an abstract cluster of individual hand poured mirrored glass elements, achieved by uniquely pouring each letter or element, followed by a process of cooling and silvering. This transition from liquid to solid takes place for bronze as well. The smoke on vellum work such as ‘Where’ also stem from this process, as Wynne elaborates:
"In order to transport the letters into the cooling oven from the table that they’re poured on, they have to be slid onto a piece of wood. And when they’re slid onto the wood, the wood catches fire and produces an enormous amount of smoke, which chars the surface of the wood. So it both imprints the letter—“brands it”—into the wood, and it also creates smoke, which is charcoal...I lit a candle and put paper on a piece of Plexiglas, so that I could look through the paper and trap the smoke onto it. So it really is a charcoal drawing."
Central to his exhibition is the idea of looking and how the viewer can be transported to another world. The element of the mirrored surface points to Wynne’s interest in the viewer’s self-awareness both in the materiality of the piece, as well as on a more contemplative level. Beyond an unusual and glittering quality, the work takes on a poetic subtext. Phrases and words are drawn from diary entries, snippets from poems, and conversations. The themes of Invisibility / transformation are directly referenced in the morphing of the materials - glass when clear, the white text prints, the translucency of the vellum that permits the ability to read the sewn text while looking through to see the threads unravelling.
Rob Wynne (b.1948) lives and works in New York City and has had an extensive history of solo gallery exhibitions in the United States and in France dating back to 1981, including at the Brooklyn Museum (2018-19) and Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL (2012). His work has been featured in recent group exhibitions at the Flag Art Foundation, New York, NY (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2010), and the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX (2005). Wynne’s work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Centre Pompidou, France; The Norton Museum of Art, Florida; the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris.