The Hole is proud to announce our first solo exhibition by Stephen Somple. With wall works, floor works and pigment paintings, “Linear Momentum” is a pretty comprehensive debut for Somple in our rear gallery. The title refers to the physics equation p=mv to put terms like “mass” and “velocity” in our heads instead of just our art words.
In this show of elegant metal work it comes as no surprise that Somple apprenticed as a silversmith, restoring traditional hollowware by hammering out dents and forming sheet metal into tea pots or candelabras. This experience began his fascination with the interaction between shape and form and the relationship force, impact, intention and chance has on the creation of three-dimensional objects.
The three large wall works are sheets of brass dented by the human body. The artist and his braver friends donned helmets and tossed themselves onto a large brass sheet that retained the indentation of their body. A portrait of sorts, the unique form created is welded into a three-dimensional wall work and given a black patina.
The largest sculpture in the show, affectionately called a “Dudd Stack”, is both as a criticism and homage to the iconic sculptor Donald Judd. Somple has fabricated eight deformed and dented boxes half the size of Judd’s original dimensions but delicately sanded and finished with a gold lacquer. The handmade works, all unique through their deformity, challenge Judd’s emphasis on industrial production and perfection while at the same time maintain his commitment to non-symbolic objects.
Three large works on paper exploring the interactions between shape and value. The artist rubs powdered pigment or graphite directly onto paper with a fixative between layers. These stacks of shapes—the only appearance of color in his oeuvre—create values and compositions that are ultimately obscured by additional layers. As these layers accrue, the orderly underlying compositions move back toward chaos. ∆S! Could be another good equation to keep in mind when perusing the exhibition.
Stephen Somple (b. Ohio, 1980) received his B.A. from Kenyon College. Before turning his full attention to fine art, Stephen Somple apprenticed as a silversmith, fabricating and restoring traditional hollowware. In dialogue with the technique of the metal arts, his work seems to isolate interaction between the basic elements of art, with an emphasis on craft and chance. His work has been shown in exhibitions around the U.S. and internationally by The Hole, Joshua Liner Gallery, Tiger Strike Asteroid, Colossal Youth Exhibitions, and Egg Collective.