Morgan Lehman is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by John Salvest. This is his second solo show of found-object based sculpture at the gallery. In his new work, Salvest continues to challenge pre- conceived notions of the purpose and value of common objects in everyday life. Taking various artifacts (matches, coins, pills, cigarette butts, magnets, etc.), Salvest refashions them to be viewed from an entirely different perspective. This re- contextualizing gives an emotional power and saturated purpose to the ordinary and ephemeral.
Salvest strikes a balance between humor and intensity in examining personal and social conditions in his work. In “Cold Spot”, a vintage refrigerator door, every inch covered with magnets made of shells, the feeling is lighthearted, even amusing. In works such as “Not Myself Lately”, a medicine cabinet filled with pain pills spelling out the text of the title, the context Salvest creates is more solemn. His works reveal psychological undertones with domestic and socio- political connotations that communicate personal realizations about time, mortality and the many paradoxes of the human condition.
The manipulation of materials imparts human emotion to inanimate objects. Salvest’s process and the finished works are often intertwined, visibly and conceptually. Materials accumulate within or upon found household objects and fill the space in a way that suggests the passing of each day, at once suppressing the intended function of the object and revering it. The infinitude of artifact seems suffocating at first, but serves to create a new life and meaning in the ordinary.