Scott Rosenberg's Snail Trail Makes Good Use of Materials Both Found and Created
Scott Rosenberg and some of his art at the Tommy Zoya Gallery
Photo courtesy of Ken Watkins
The "Snail Trail" refers to the garden theme found in this exhibition, but, wait, before I proceed to that, I'd like to cite a statement from the press release that is captivating and endearing: "Scott Rosenberg rarely overthinks his work, creating pieces that lack pretention and avoid complex metaphors." I would have said that the work was light-hearted, buoyant, and whimsical, but the press release says it better, and the misspelling of "pretension" simply adds to its charm.
I especially liked a severely damaged ceramic birdbath with a black bird - I imagine it to be a raven - bending down to be, surprisingly, kissed by a bluebird a fraction of its size. The sculpture suggests neglect, decay, and abandonment, and yet romance survives.
What looks like "found" material is Rosenberg's way of having fun with us, as he carefully constructs many objects to look found, though they are created by him.
I was certain an old-fashioned two-vane ceiling fan with wire sticking out of a long fixture was "found" art, but, no, it is ceramic made to look like metal, and Rosenberg has produced a trompe l'oeil work, as well as a significant echo of an earlier time.
The most perplexing "art" is a wall hanging that looks like a used and mended blue tarp, about as unprepossessing as a fabric could be, and I couldn't fathom what it was doing there, in all its mundane homeliness. It was, however, not fabric, but Rosenberg's careful and painstaking sketching to suggest fabric. Rosenberg had gone to enormous lengths to create this deception, clever in its way, but nonetheless graceless in its achievement.
Rosenberg does use some found objects in one work centered in the gallery, a Pomeranian dog on grass, though he - of course! - has sewn material to look like grass. There are glazed stones as well, a great many of them, which are attractive, and the overall effect has a curiously miniature pastoral quality, as though this scene might occur on the balcony to a high rise.
There are a number of bowls, deliberately cracked or chipped, which are colorful and have interesting added elements. A few of these seemed to have phallic overtones - but that may just be me, projecting.
There is an elaborate, overstuffed ceramic basket that captures the magic of fairy tales. It is bursting with a multitude of finely-detailed objects. Another work is a multi-tiered, sculpture with a human head on the bottom, looking unhappy, compelled to support all the weight.
There are glazed ceramic pears, with horse-shoe nails as stems, which are easily affordable, and might do well as a starting point for collectors.
Virtually all of Rosenberg's art is untitled, as his free-wheeling style is too libertarian to tell us what to think. He eschews conventional beauty, but seeks to illuminate the ordinary. His good humor and benevolence are apparent, and I'm struggling to forgive him for the blue tarp.
Rosenberg is now a Houston resident, having traveled and studied abroad. He gathered experience and inspiration in New Zealand, Poland, and the Czech Republic. This is his first solo show with Zoya Tommy Contemporary, and a most enjoyable show it is.
Scott Rosenberg: Snail Trail continues through August 9, Tommy Zoya Contemporary, Suite F, 4411 Montrose, open Wednesdays to Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information call 713-523-7424, or visit zoyatommy.com.
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