Venske & Spänle
Returning to Marcia Wood Gallery for their fifth Atlanta show, Julia Venske and Gregor Spänle present the myzot, the latest branch on the growing family tree of the sculptural genealogy that started with the Smoerfs. Myzots can be characterised by their suspicious movements toward people, objects, architecture and other trappings of humanity. The artists, who live and work in New York and Munich, began collaborating in 1991, and have developed a worldwide reputation for their enigmatic marble sculptures.
Venske & Spänle, in their works, "play with the ability of sculpture to accompany humans," as the artists themselves describe it. "Like a different species [the sculptures] live with people. They form a parallel universe, a species of 'organic' beings operating in groups poised to populate within society." Exhibiting their work worldwide, the artists are interested in the power of art to alter an environment, as well as affect the people who experience it. Using brilliantly pure white marble, the artists transform the material from hard blocks into sensuous shapes that melt, fold, dissolve, flow and wiggle. Light bounces off the highly polished surfaces of the biomorphic forms, emphasizing the inflated curving lines, folds and creases. In the spirit of surrealism the sculptures, while abstract, evoke living forms. The work references pop-culture as well, having been inspired by the cartoon characters they grew up with, the Smurfs, while the pristine play of form, line and light speak to minimalism. Working with a classic material expertly by hand, Venske & Spanle bring each piece to life with meticulous carving and labor intensive sanding and polishing. The artists subvert the expectation of the viewer by suggesting objects that are light, soft and malleable, while concealing at first their origins of weight and mass, The various species have to date, populated the globe from Atlanta to the Congo, India to Las Vegas, Bolivia to New York City, the Pacific Islands to Belgium, Peru to Australia, and other unexpected places, from urban metropolises to the most remote island.
Julia Venske and Gregor Spänle, born in 1971 and 1969 respectively, live and work in New York and Munich. They began collaborating on artwork in 1991. Their sculpture and installation work has been shown in museums, galleries and art fairs worldwide, including Bolivia, India, Italy, Germany, Spain, the Congo, Switzerland, Australia, Argentina, Japan, Belgium, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Africa, as well as throughout the United States.