When Quay Quinn Wolf heard that New Yorkers would have to follow a stay-at-home order, he went to his studio in Harlem to gather materials—scraps of soft leather, industrial scissors, a sewing needle, and thread. A week later, isolated in the Brooklyn apartment he shares with his partner, Wolf began working on a sculpture to process his emotions.
“I began grappling with my own thoughts of mortality and the human condition and what those thoughts looked like,” Wolf said. A trip to his neighborhood hardware store turned up stainless steel cable ties, steel sheet, and electrical metallic tubing, which he partially wrapped in hand-stitched leather scraps. All this he assembled into some semblance of a body: The tubes curve in a neat row, like fishbones; the brown fabrics cling to metal like carrion. Resting on the stark steel sheet, the arrangement feels simultaneously clinical and tender.
Wolf often pairs ready-mades with organic material, creating associations that aim to dissect memory and associated trauma. Although his process has been altered by his restricted resources, he continues to produce “out of necessity.” He recently finished another piece, one involving rabbit skulls tucked into a pair of unlaced Nike Air Force 1s. “I find that I am most active in the studio when my anxieties are heightened,” he said. “Upon completing a work I feel a bit lighter.”