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336 Warren Street
March/April 2009

John Cleater: Appendages

The Nicole Fiacco Gallery is pleased to announce Appendages; an exhibition of recent sculpture by John Cleater, marking the artist’s first exhibition at the gallery.  Appendages, is a series of large sculptures made of enameled iron and chrome plated brass that transform materials used in the manufacture of domestic objects including sinks, toilets and bathtubs, into suggestive abstract forms.  The sculptures, coupled with their reflective, smooth surfaces and organic forms, pulse and bend as they fill their space.  The works are as beautiful as they are unlikely.

The Appendages series was created during a residency at the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI.  According to Cleater, “…As I spent time browsing the line of products in the Kohler factory during my residency there, I imagined myself as Duchamp browsing ‘Ready-mades’ at his local hardware store. I was interested in revealing hidden views of these common products by extracting, stretching, and reconfiguring them until they were no longer recognizable as product”.  Following the creation of the abstracted forms, Cleater sometimes reintroduced product element back into the forms, such as a standard drain, shower head or the impression of a toilet trap.

 Additionally, some of the Appendages can be installed as triptychs or diptychs or come with “‘options” such as LCD displays, built-in web cams, video projectors and water fountain plumbing.  Cleater’s intention was to increase the number of ‘functions’ and readings of the sculptures, stating “…I hope that over time each of the Appendages will continue to reveal new ways for the viewer to interact with them and the space they occupy”.

John Cleater (American b. 1965) examines relationships between art and architecture.  Cleater’s extensive background in experimental architecture has taken him to Documenta XI and the 2000 Venice Biennale as a representative and project leader for the New York architecture studio Asymptote.  From 1998-2003, Cleater was project architect for Asymptote projects at the Guggenheim Museum, the New York Stock Exchange and Eyebeam, among others.  Cleater is a founding member of internationally acclaimed performance group, The Builders Association, where he has designed theater sets that have traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States.  He has also worked on projects for Daniel Libeskind, Bernard Tschumi, Vito Acconci, I.M. Pei, and others. 

John Cleater earned his Masters degree from the Columbia University School of Architecture.  Currently, Cleater is involved on the advisory committee at the OMI International Arts Center's newest project, Architecture OMI: Exploring the Intersection of Art and Architecture.

Appendages was Created in Arts/Industry, a long-term residency program of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. Arts/Industry takes place and is funded by Kohler Co.

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