Dodge Gallery, at 15 Rivington Street, is a stunning bi-level open gallery and ex- sausage factory (in fact, the giant meat grinder is still kept in the building’s storage space downstairs!). “That Which Remains,” a current solo exhibition by Sheila Gallagher in the minor level, discover works the artist has created from found objects that she and her family have saved, yet do not utilize. The recycled materials in the exhibition question the purpose of the objects we store.
From the distance, the large piece entitled “Deute” appears to be a theoretical collage, which by blurring our eyes; we can see forms a pathway lined with fall plants. Upon closer assessment, the erratic colors that comprise the image are in fact melted junk. Broken sunglasses, several Crayola permanent markers, instruction bottles, and chopped up credit cards are melted with limitless soda and water bottle lids, children’s toys and outfit jewelry. The resulting piece is fascinating and amazing. One can gaze at the giant mass, examining a sort of visual history of Gallagher’s life, by her collection of useless objects that she refused to throw away.
During a talk with the NYC Department of Sanitation’s Robin Nagle, Gallagher discussed this notion of the unnecessary objects and crumbs that find their way into our homes, and somehow remain there, as we subconsciously place some sort of cost on them. The sheer fact of their presence bestows a type of power on these objects that they hold over us, allowing us to be ruled by our scrap. Further, Nagle discussed the fate for many of these objects if we did decide to part with them, giving almost a directory of the types of objects that are found in our landfills, which Gallagher’s work is a reflection of.
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