Lesley Heller is pleased to present Jim Osman: The Walnut Series, the artist’s sixth exhibition with the gallery.
Jim Osman is known for his sculptures that explore structure, architecture, furniture, and space. Working almost solely with wood and paint—along with cast paint—he instinctively combines form and color to create dynamic 3-dimensional compositions with a strong emphasis on balance and a reflection on the process of making.
The logic and beauty of built forms intrigues me in the way they express weight, gravity and friction.
The sculptures presented in this exhibition focus on Osman’s recent interest in walnut as a primary material. Each piece is composed of various distinct elements—or individual thoughts—put together to form larger conversations through the assembly process. In this process, Osman favors mechanical fasteners such as pin nails, screws, or hidden dowels to connect the pieces, rather than glue. This fastening further emphasizes the elemental structure of his work and highlights the balance that is so key to Osman’s practice.
The works range from complex free-standing floor pieces to smaller and more intimate sculptures with simplified geometric contours that Osman refers to as Starts. The large works are positioned atop pedestals that Osman has created specifically for each piece and mimic the sculptures’ forms. The pieces excavate formal relationships of line and structure and invite contemplations on architecture, furniture and the materiality of wood. They invite a dialog with the viewer—and reward it—with an array of unique angles from which to view or enter the works.
Osman thinks of his Starts like an étude: a short composition designed to improve technique or demonstrate skill. The Starts are small discoveries he makes while working. They act as individual thoughts or ideas; sometimes used to form larger sculptures, though they also can continue on as independent works.
Jim Osman’s practice of combining elements of architecture, furniture making, form, line and color into minimal elegant sculptures, leads to various vistas created within the works. These distinct elements create a thoroughly thought-provoking conversation on space and form for the viewer to enter, engage with, and enjoy.
Jim Osman (b.1956, New York) received his MFA and BA from Queens College (CUNY) in Flushing, NY where he studied with Tom Doyle and Lawrence Fane. His work has been exhibited at institutions nationally including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Queens Museum, Long Island University’s Kumbal Gallery, Dartmouth College, and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Osman has been awarded residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and received grants from New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) in Crafts/Sculpture in 2017, Parsons School of Design and the Brooklyn Arts Council. Osman’s public sculptures have been shown at PULSE Miami, FL; Art Hamptons, NY; and Sculpture Mile in Madison, Conn. Jim Osman teaches courses in three-dimensional design, public sculpture and making classes at Parsons School of Design. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.