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Julia Weist, The Size of Thoughts

259 10th Ave
259 Tenth Avenue
February 7 - March 4, 2008
Reception: Thursday, February 7, 7 - 7:30 PM

In The Size of Thoughts, Julia Weist presents new sculptures that measure a viewer’s relational body-scale to the physical burden of discarded information and paper-reliant narratives. Combining references to a canon of sculptural Essentialism with new modes of transformative fabrication, Weist explores how the disposal of pre-digital intellectual content relates to object-oriented art practices.

A two-part sculpture entitled Lumber visualizes theorist Nicholson Baker’s use of the word to signify irrelevant information in the brain, exhibited—pointedly—through the minimalist tradition of displaying what appears to be wood without intervention. The piece re-envisions MDF, an industrial wood product made from sawdust or paper fibers and resin, as M.D.F. (Made of Discarded Fantasies)—wooden planks that Weist cast out of pulverized margins of discarded public library romance novels. The text field of the novels, subjected to a similar process, is exhibited alongside as a simple pile of “romance” rendered to a primary derivative of the paper’s woodness, without being developed into a new form with potential for construction.

By drawing on refuse from public collections for her study of the physical scale of narrative, Weist alludes to an earlier project in which she published a romance novel called Sexy Librarian modeled after deaccessioned library fiction. The book jacket of Sexy Librarian is exhibited in The Size of Thoughts next to the cover of a romance novel written fifteen years ago by her dead step-grandmother called The Colonel’s Campaign. These pieces are framed in real MDF, as is a third “study” for Lumber, which shows a page of a discarded novel entitled Afterlove sanded until all the romance was removed.
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