Artist Allan Wexler's most recent work—going on display March 29th at New York's Ronald Feldman Fine Arts gallery—explores architecture purified down to its most basic conceptual elements. There are foundation pits and walls, yawning excavations and the cubic masses that are pulled from them.
The many images on display as part of Wexler's upcoming show depict what seem to be almost archaic scenes of measurement, construction, and inhabitation, mythical moments outside of time.
The gallery's own write-up says it best: "Comprised of intricately layered, handmade works, the exhibition continues to build on fundamental exploratory principles, which have engaged Wexler for over forty-five years: the forms, functions, and meanings of what we build."
The results are like little narrative dreams, seemingly symbolic spatial scenarios.
There is a fault line, for example, out of which extends a little ladder, implying human attempts at escaping an unsafe earth through structures of their own devising, and empty landscapes cleared for an act of construction that might not ever occur, waiting for some future building to arrive.
The situations that Wexler has modeled are poetic and seemingly allegorical, each image suggesting stories and interpretations that give might architecture deeper significance.
Wexler, after all, originally trained as an architect, graduating with a Master of Architecture from the Pratt Institute back in 1976.
As the gallery continues, "With his newest works on view, Wexler combines photography, sculpture, and drawing in order to explore certain deep-seated rituals that form the basis for civilization and habitation: our relationship to the natural world, our first marks on the primal landscape as builders, the shovel plunged into the earth and lifting earth skyward."
If that sounds abstract, then some of this work also reflects this, with, for example, one piece simply showing a piece of ground traced out like a mathematical diagram out of which future structures may or may not be extracted.
In many ways, the image is like Peter Eisenman's Holocaust memorial in Berlin, a gridded forest of pillars undulating at various heights and visual densities across the landscape.
Others are like mirages or spatial ghosts being conjured from the ground in clouds, little hovering buildings that may or may not be there, like fog banks emitted from below.
All images by Allan Wexler courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts