C24 Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of sculptures by Brian Tolle marking his inaugural exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition brings together Tolle’s iconic public work, Eureka, on view for the first time in the United States and in a gallery setting, paired with his Levittown sculptures.
A highlight of the exhibition is the monumental installation Eureka. At approximately 36 feet high, when standing, the sculpture is a 3D rendering of the façade of a 17th-century Flemish canal house as it might exist in wave form. Thus, it becomes an uncanny reflection of the kinetic water below it. Originally commissioned by curator Jan Hoet for his landmark exhibition Over the Edges (2000), as a site-specific public installation in Ghent, Belgium, the sculpture is re-contextualized in the gallery space. Lying flat on the gallery’s atrium floor Eureka confronts notions of place and process thereby questioning the function of art in public spaces versus art in specific institutions. Drawing ideas from a broad-based conceptual analysis, Tolle creates a dialogue between the contemporary and the historical and blurs the border between architecture and its evolving environment.
A keen observer of domestic life and identity, Tolle furthers his interest of politics of place in his Levittown sculptures. The sculptures are inspired by the planned housing community, Levittown: the historic town in Long Island, NY, which became the archetype of American suburban life in the early 1950s. Each of Tolle's eleven sculptures is a precise scaled model of an original Levittown home -- cast from the same mold varying only in color and displaying the architectural details of the original structures. The sculptural houses themselves resemble deflated or melting membranes, and are supported by various appropriated mementos of suburban life - found toys, tire swing, shopping cart, a plastic nativity set, and a recliner. These iconographic items rest underneath and inside silicone rubber skins of the houses, emphasizing a dialogue between sites and domestic artifacts.
As the title of the exhibition suggests, the artworks presented in Bent provoke a re-reading, or discord between reality and fiction. The formal play that Tolle visually articulates between shapes and textures, private and public spaces presents a challenge to standard architectural, as well as behavioral conventions and norms.
Brian Tolle's work has been exhibited in the Whitney Biennial, Liverpool Biennial at the Tate Modern, Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland, the S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Belgium, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; the Queens Museum of Art, New York, Havana Biennial, Cuba, the Invitational Exhibition at the American Academy of Arts and numerous other institutions.
His public works include Irish Hunger Memorial (2002), Battery Park City, NYC, NY a one-half acre sculpture on the Hudson River, reshaping the landscape with a full-scale replica of a hillside Irish farm desiccated by the potato famine. Most recently he completed a public artwork in Brooklyn, NY titled Pageant, 2017 and Outflow (2015), Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Other notable public works are Simnai Dirdro (Twisted Chimney) (2010), Caerphilly, Wales, UK, Remembering Walter H. Dubner (2010), Los Angeles, CA., and Stronghold (2007), University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
He is the recipient of awards from the Irish American Historical Society, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and the Design Commission of the City of New York.