Gary Webb’s second solo show at The Approach is a sensory playground where abstraction and representation coexist as a new, unidentifiable hybrid.
Webb’s sculptures embrace the formal interplay between geometric and organic shapes, line and volume, reflective and transparent surfaces. The work seems to address many of the issues of 1960s Modernist abstract sculpture, but these issues are playfully turned askew and complicated by Webb’s use of materials, pop references and humour.
Webb’s unexpected configurations of manufactured and natural objects result in constructions that often defy definition and are distinctly his own. A wide array of materials is brought together with a great sense of fun; brilliant colours, glossy synthetics, chromed surfaces, chunky Perspex and hand-carved wood could all constitute a single piece. At times, abstract elements are associated with features that are almost baroque. Modernist sculpture is honoured and parodied all at once through the use of its vocabulary to express a representational language.
The sculptures sometimes seem to pose as functional objects, or to be attempting to take up a human scale that is always slightly mistaken. They possess a retro quality through their relations to 20th century art and design. Brancusi, Phillip King, Richard Artschwager and Donald Judd are brought to mind as well as automobiles, toys and furniture. In the ‘Split’ sculptures that surround the gallery’s walls, multicoloured angled mirrors offer a new vision of the space they inhabit; they break-up and re-formulate their surroundings, sometimes tinting them with a new wash of colour.
Gary Webb was born in England in 1973. Previous solo shows include: ‘Export’, Atelier Hermes, Seoul, Korea, (2008); Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria (2007); Bortolami Gallery, New York (2006); ‘Deep Heat T Reg Laguna’, Chisenhale Gallery, London (2004); ‘Gary Webb Plays Gary Webb’, The Approach, London (1998). Selected group shows include: ‘Pour de Vrai’, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nancy, France (2005); ‘The British Art Show 6’, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2005); ‘ATOMKRIEG’, Kunsthaus, Dresden, Germany (2004); ‘It’s All an Illusion’, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, Switzerland (2004); Bienallae d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, France (2003); ‘Early One Morning’, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2002).