Sculptor Noah Loesberg’s work centers on contradictions and meanings they expose. Through shifts in scale and substitutions of materials Loesberg recontextualizes everyday items from our built environment into objects of rarefied ubiquity. Common things often overlooked or simply ignored by most of us are for Loesberg full of beauty and rich with metaphoric potential. He has appropriated street curbs, storm drains, sewer pipes and smoke detectors among other things. This exhibition will feature 10 charcoal and graphite drawings on paper from a new series called Tire Treads and a scaled maquette made of wood titled Highway Barrier Study.
The tire tread drawings begin with simple geometric shapes extracted from actual automobile tire treads that are enlarged and arranged into complex patterns. Rendered in charcoal, a messy and somewhat inexact medium and contrary to the exactness of the original tire treads, it leaves a dusty covering over the areas of exposed paper. A giant tire looks as if it rolled over the paper leaving a scuffed residue of its passing. The luscious and sensual black of the charcoal stands in opposition to our disregard of the merely utilitarian black rubber tire.
Loesberg’s substitution of wood for concrete in Highway Barrier Study is an ironic play on our ideas of safety and regulation that we usually encounter as we whiz by these barriers on the highway. Concrete highway barriers are considered purely functional, lacking in aesthetic qualities and associated with temporary construction, which usually means deconstruction as the highway or bridge or landscape is reshaped and prepared for its final purpose. Loesberg tweaks this cultural legacy of ugliness by expertly handcrafting his barriers out of wood, an impermanent and aesthetically beautiful material.
Loesberg’s exploration of materials and context offers us a perspective to see common objects differently and manipulates our preconceived notions of beauty and value. By extracting beauty from the mundane he asks us to contemplate our cultural assumptions and reevaluate what we think as we experience our constructed environment.