I am a great admirer of the Dadaist’s use of disjunction and absurdity as their protest against the hierarchical, hyper-rationalized society that led to the horrors of WWI. My work only obliquely references political, social and economic issues: the sculptural object, not the backing subtext, remains my primary focus. For me, worn, hand wrought, steel surfaces suggest the industrial base that American society was founded on, which for the most part has fallen fallow. Our workers once made things. Instead, the capitalist mechanism has pushed us away from physical production toward an erratic economy based on flimsy, volatile financial instruments.

In my work, intimations of scientific instruments or industrial structures raise expectations of functionality, but these are quickly subverted by other discordant or sub-rational juxtapositions. This tension results from the additive process that I use, which is similar to how old farmhouses were sometimes built from a process of adding on rooms as they were needed over the years. I begin by making a number of parts, then start connecting or relating them until a certain “narrative” is discovered through the process of making. At times, a humorous effect may result, though I never consciously try to create it.

The choice of material is essential in my work. I choose distressed materials like steel that has sat rusting in the sun and rain for years because of the history that comes with it. The processes of forging and welding add more to these surfaces but the evidence of exposure to the elements remains. The color palette of my work tends to be restricted to earth tones, which reflect the sober utility of the factory.

I have always found a great beauty in things that are functional. Much of my work comes from the observation of old industrial structures, scientific instruments and anatomical diagrams. I often find similarities between the structure of plant and animal forms, architecture, physiology, industrial structures, toys or consumer appliances, to name some. My work draws upon this wide vocabulary of archaic and contemporary elements to explore and comment upon a world where the social, biological, political and historical collide in ways that challenge us daily.

 

Stephen Reynolds

Lives and works in Germantown, NY

 

Education

1974-77 – Art Students League, New York, NY

1982 – New York University, BA in Art History

2002 – Workshop with Hoss Haley. Learned techniques of making hollow-formed objects in forged and welded steel sheet. Peters Valley Education Center, Layton, NJ

 

Awards

2011 – New York Foundation for the Arts Mark11

1992 – Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

 

Exhibitions

2014 – NEW WORK One person show, John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY

2012 – UTILITY AND FUTILITY  One person show, John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY

2012 – KMOCA Kingston, NY

2012 – MARK 11 SHOWCASE  Kleinert/James Arts Center, Woodstock, NY

2011 – GROUP SHOW John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY

2011-2014 – POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE A Benefit For Visual Aids, CRG Gallery, NYC

2010 – BENEFIT OF FRIENDS Columbia Greene Community College, Hudson, NY

2008 – LOCAL COLOR Artspace, Germantown, NY

2007 – GERMANTOWN ARTISTS SHOW Columbia County Council for the Arts, Hudson, NY

2007 – FACULTY PLUS ONE Columbia Greene Community College, Hudson, NY

2006 – NUTS AND BOLTS P&T Surplus, Kingston, NY

2005 – THIS IS NOT AN ARCHIVE Center For Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale, NY

2005 – WAVES OF LIGHT II Pocketbook Factory, Hudson, NY

2005 – NUTS AND BOLTS P&T Surplus, Kingston, NY

2004 – WAVES OF LIGHT Pocketbook Factory, Hudson, NY

2004 – NUTS AND BOLTS P&T Surplus, Kingston, NY

2003 – KINGSTON SCULPTURE BIENNIAL Curated by Judy Pfaff, Kingston, NY

2002 – SNAPSHOT, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT

2002 – ARTISTS RESPOND Foundation Gallery, Columbia Greene Community College, Hudson, NY