From April 29 to June 9, 2021, Trotter & amp; Sholer in Brooklyn, NY presents "I’ve Done Too Much Slithering, I’m Now Claiming Skies", a solo show by Derek Weisberg. This event is an opportunity to look back on seven years of creation during which the artist developed a work inhabited by questions of fragmentation and reconstruction of the individual. Materiality is at the heart of Weisberg's work, who pays special attention to scars and ruptures, as well as repairs. Weisberg's masks and sculptures are created from shards of earlier work that he shattered in an act of creative destruction; likewise, his collages are assembled from found materials and pieces of drawings giving rise to unexpected compositions. Several works in the exhibition can be found in the monographic catalog Derek Weisberg. Masks and Bergamasques published by Editions Lord Byron in 2020.
At first glance the works can be jarring, like creatures created by a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein. Rather than revulsion, how-ever, Weisberg reacts to his inventions with sensitivity and care. He finds a tender fragility in the rough, hardened ceramic material. The bricolage process highlights the romance in the sculptures’ clefts and fractures and makes an allusion to the grotesque beauty of something broken and imperfect. The empty space in the chest of As She Appeared in My Favorite Dream II, indicates that the work is as much about what isn’t there as what is. These works make physical the kind of psychic fragmentation inherent to the human experience. By offering evidence of physical destruction, Weisberg presents a materialised vision of catharsis and metamorphosis.
Weisberg’s masks take a more minimal approach while his large-scale, free-standing sculptures present more elaborate compositions. This maximalism is carried into his collage works; Alchemy of Unexpected Meetings takes 2D elements and combines them into object/collage hybrids. In these pieces Weisberg uses found materials and his own drawings reconfiguring them into something entirely new. His commitment of sculpture is clear; each collage has weight and an explicit sense of having been constructed.
Weisberg notes that after the destruction of something it can’t be entirely returned to its former self. Like Theseus’ Ship, Weisberg plays with the idea of finality, but makes no attempt at identity or sameness; instead, fully new creations emerge, reminding the viewer that destruction is an essential part of creation. For Weisberg, "existence is a constant exercise in picking up the pieces. In moving, refreshing and discarding parts and bits of oneself to form something anew. This transformation, this reconstruction is what interests me most. Composed of elements of previous works, these figures represent past selves, fragmented histories, and stories of loss. To be fragile, and vulnerable is a uniquely human condition and something I continually investigate in my work. Through transfiguration, the remnants of my past are amended, at least in-part, giving space for healing and growth."
"I’ve Done Too Much Slithering, I’m Now Claiming Skies" is presented at Trotter & amp; Sholer at 168 Suffolk Street until June 9, 2021.