• Leena Carr

Poetry of the Discarded

Late in June, a visit to see the Jason Moran exhibition at the Wexner led to a more interesting show—that of Chilean-born artist Cecilia Vicuña. An airy gallery was delicately animated by dozens of tiny sculptures made of cast-off materials, from twigs to fabric fragments. It brought to mind two other artists with similar impulses: Christina Pereyma and Donald Lipski. All three work with what has been left behind, using both a conceptual and highly poetic approach to the detritus of life.

For Pereyma, some recent work utilized objects gleaned from her deceased parents’ home, each imbued with personal meaning and memory and embedded in wax as if to preserve.

Of course, what each quirky object—a used bar of soap, an old umbrella, an eggshell--evokes for the viewer and artist varies. Likewise, Vicuna’s objects are mysterious yet compelling.

Like Lipski’s “Gathering Dust,” they are pinned to the wall as if they are natural history specimens. As a body of work they suggest an infinite space, but each exists independently and powerfully, as evocative as a haiku suggesting a past life.

These are works that quietly coax us to attend to the world around us. In this regard, their value far outstrips their humble materials.

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