An opening reception will be held Thursday September 8th, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at 529 West 20th Street FL1, New York, NY 10011.
SEPTEMBER 8TH 2022, — NEW YORK, NY— Jason Jacques Gallery is delighted to present Fantastic Menagerie, a textile-focused solo exhibition of recent works by Nick Weddell.
The remarkable attention to color, texture, and form glimpsed in Weddell's clay oeuvre brilliantly carries over into his textiles at both a large and small scale. Whether wall-mounted or displayed on the floor, shown together or placed apart, these fantastical depictions of otherworldly creatures command presence and draw the eye.
Weddell made his first textile in 2019— a whimsical portrait of a puffer fish, titled "Bethany," that entered the Dallas Museum of Art's permanent collection that very same year. Since then, Weddell has been developing his textile practice, focusing on tufted wool as he applies his expertise in clay to the peculiarities of fabric and fibers. The art-objects he produces are playful, irreverent, provocative, and at times autobiographical.
Yet, most of Weddell's imagery is of extraterrestrial origin. Nearly each creature in this interplanetary menagerie hails from the far-off planet Zeefromzeglop. Their likenesses are beamed back to Earth by Gorglax, an intrepid alien explorer from that distant world, from whom Weddell receives visions via an intergalactic portal located inside his eyes and brain. As he relays these messages from the stars, Weddell re-imagines the possibilities of our own ecology by embracing all that is 'alien' and 'other.'
The wool-framed mirrors in this exhibition add a surreal dimension to Weddell's work. As we look in, we see ourselves staring back from within the mouths of alien creatures, reflected in the art-objects themselves. This is at once uncanny and gratifying. The mirrors toy with camp and horror, invoking fond memories of "monsters under the bed," impish apparitions, and the golden age of sci-fi.
Like an interstellar oracle, Weddell presents a vision of a world that has completely cast aside any distinction between image-making, design, and sculpture, and yet which pushes all of these concepts to their limits so that an artworks "viewer" and a design-object's "user" become one and the same.
Paraphrasing the artist, these intentionally ambiguous forms brandish their technicolor splendor at us the way a coral reef advertises itself to tropical fish, inviting us to linger with them in a dreamlike state for as long as we'd like. This artwork builds a space for us to center joy, celebrate the mundane, and question the obvious. It brings us into a world where a rug is never just a rug.