Sculpture Un.furled, by Nancy Sansom Reynolds

Nancy Sansom Reynolds transforms sheets of plywood into sinuous sculptural forms that seem to defy her medium’s properties; in her hands, the material literally unfurls. Known for her deft abilities with plywood, for a new series, aptly titled “un.furl,” Reynolds adopted a new source of inspiration: videos of Sufi dancers. “The torques and twists of the sharp edges of their skirts contrasting with the flow of the body of the dresses, was a rich visualization of the ecstatic joy of movement,” Reynolds explains. Her delicate ribbon-like wisps and billowing cones, which currently wind their way along walls and pedestals at Washington, D.C.’s Addison/Ripley Fine Art, embody this jubilant energy, while simultaneously recalling natural elements, particularly leaves.

Mimicking the way leaves grow, or petals bloom, Reynolds’s weightless forms appear to levitate through a life of their own; which is by design. “Rather than representations of leaves, this series describes the process of growth,” she affirms. This approach is reinforced through a palette of color to contrast with woodgrain, diverging from allusions to vegetation, through a range a hues, from lavender to black. For each work, a single plane and its crisp, linear edges, the surface—which in addition to wood and acrylic, takes on the effects of aniline dyes, white pickling, and Japan colors—becomes synonymous with form and texture. “These sculptures are a celebration of life and energy, captured through the fluid gesture of line and form,” the artist professes. Each work, a vibrant, harmonious object of celebration, activates its own negative space, while captivating its beholder. 

Nancy Sansom Reynolds: un.furl” is on view at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, Mar. 22nd–May 10th, 2014.

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