Lisa Selin Davis -- Interior Design, 3/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
Picking up where the collage-like "combines" of Robert Rauschenberg left off, Jessica Stockholder takes common household and construction items—plasterboard, heat lamps, yarn, bales of hay—and uses them to construct site-specific works that revel in the aesthetics of the ordinary. "What I use could come from someone's garage," says the artist, who's also a professor at Yale University. "I actually go shopping at T.J. Maxx and Home Depot and Goodwill."
Her newest installation, Of Standing Float Roots in Thin Air, rises in a two-story gallery at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens, New York. Clusters of industrial tubs give way to a tangle of safety-orange extension cords. Stacked below are plywood planks, a pine picnic table, a swath of fuchsia-dipped faux fur, and an arm- chair slathered in cobalt paint.
While she doesn't have a particular formula for her choice of materials, she admits "really liking colored plastic. And I'm interested in the flow of cheap stuff through stores." She's also concerned with halting that flow. Removed from their original context, these items take on new value: as objets d'art instead of waste waiting to happen.
"Red paint in a tube is very different from paint describing an apple in a painting," she says. Stockholder paints with objects.