Monday, September 5, 2011

"Productive Steps" at Mount Tremper Arts

Grayson Revoir in "Productive Steps at Mount Tremper Arts, through August 21, 2011.

Melissa Shimkovitz

Just down the road from the upstate hamlet of Phoenicia, New York, sits the remarkable arts center Mount Tremper Arts, which has been hosting an adventurous annual summer arts festival on its estate since 2008. This year, artists Lucas Blalock and Sam Falls (whose latest show opens at West Street Gallery on Friday) organized the festival's visual art exhibition, titled "Productive Steps," which was divided the walls of performance space and a spacious sculpture garden out back.

Installation view of outdoor section of "Productive Steps"

At a glance, the backyard garden could have been mistaken for that of almost any other country home. There was a trampoline, an outhouse, and some walking stones. But the trampoline was occupied by a hefty pile of wood — and was, in fact, a work by Grayson Revoir, who's been been making sculptures that flirt with — but never quite give themselves over — to full functionality: picnic tables, sans seats, filled with nails; a shelving unit that could just maybe double as a makeshift beach shower; and this trampoline.

Melissa Shimkovitz was responsible for the boarded-up outhouse, and David Scanavino produced the walking stones, which were actually cement slabs molded by rope. Nick van Woert, whose show at the French Institute Alliance Française in Manhattan on September 17, delivered a super gritty, just barely rusted sculpture filled with various molded objects, a welcome counterpoint to his typically far slicker work.

Nick van Woert

Detail view of David Scanavino

Installation view of inside section of "Productive Steps," with the instruments of the International Contemporary Ensemble

David Benjamin Sherry

Daniel Turner

John Houck

Jill Sylvia

Zak Kitnik

Inside the exhibition space, van Woert's metal bars nicely paralleled Zak Kitnick's choice metal screen works (two more were also on view at the Queens Museum of Art). Kitnick has a show opening this Saturday, September 10, at Clifton Benevento in SoHo. Other highlights: an even-more-subtle-than-usual Daniel Turner wall drawing; a super colorful, extroverted piece — a photo-sculpture? — by David Benjamin Sherry; and, pictured below, a supremely weird and gorgeous piece by Dani Levinthal: just a rich blue sky (or is that a pond?), some scrawled words, a photo and a cascade of feathers — some memories or mementos, maybe, of a summer quickly passed.

Dani Levinthal