Get Visual is the proud recipient of a grant from The Christos N. Apostle Charitable Trust

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

William Stone "Apperception" at Hudson Hall

Seated and Seatless 2006
Serendipity was my friend a week ago when I was in Hudson on a Tuesday for business unrelated to art, but ended up seeing a really cool art show anyway. Galleries aren't generally open at that time of the week in weekender-centric Hudson, but Hudson Hall was, and William Stone's solo show there proved to be worth the trip by itself.

Entitled Apperception, this collection of nearly 30 works spans the past decade (with a few earlier pieces) and provides a good range of freestanding and wall-mounted examples of this very witty sculptor's output. Working mostly in wood, Stone likes to play games with our perceptions by transforming familiar objects and materials with both dry and playful attitudes.

Some of the wall pieces use found paintings as their foundation, combining respect and irreverence in equal measure to elevate such mundane objects into something more. These include Orogeny, where a mountainscape has been jigsawed so it pops off the wall, and Signatures, a favorite piece of mine in which Stone has excised and lovingly reframed a constellation of just the signatures from half-a-dozen or so garage-sale paintings.

Live Edge Out 2018
Other wall works feature unfinished bark or slabs of lumber as the picture itself, flush-mounted or framed suitably in raw wood. These sculptures were not equally successful, but they all have the quality of making the viewer see something freshly, a worthy purpose for a piece of art. The rest of Stone's work in this exhibition (all of it freestanding) accomplishes that same goal quite neatly.

I should stop for a moment here to note that Stone is not just playing - he executes each piece with consummate craftsmanship, creating cleanly finished objects that use the qualities of fine woodcraft to mimic functionality, while simultaneously undermining it.

Fall Line 1991
So when Stone transforms three nondescript wooden chairs into one extraordinary one, by slicing them apart and reassembling them, you end up with a perfect illustration of the cliché "greater than the sum of its parts." And you can still sit on it.

Other altered chairs make up a good part of the rest of the show, along with more complex pieces of furniture apparently built from scratch. Another favorite of mine shown here is among the most recent - Stair Share, from 2019, evokes an Escher illusion, but it's neither illusory nor impossible. Rather, it is both pointless and potentially handy - a clever bit of tongue-in-cheek commentary on our fascination with finely crafted objects and their uses.

I enjoy Stone for his simplicity - or directness - and for his sly sense of humor. You will, too.

Hudson Hall (aka Hudson Opera House) is in the middle of Warren Street and is open every day. The exhibition runs through March 15.

Stair Share 2019

1 comment:

Robbie-Bobulon said...

Nice review.... glad to have been there with you.