Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Axel Stohlberg at Local 64 in Montpelier

There is something that doesn’t love a three-sided object. Or four, for that matter. But when these same objects are disabused of their volume and wrestled down into two dimensional surfaces - pinned together violently with brass tacks to maintain a new-found integrity - and hung suspended against a white wall, someone’s bound to get hurt.

“I’m not sure why this has touched people so deeply,” mused Local 64 founder Lars Hasselblad Torres in a recent conversation with Local 64 members. “It’s probably best to ask the artist himself,” Torres offered with probity. “I think it has something to do with the perversion of geometry, the abuse of his material - in this case cardboard. Its razor’s edge stuff you know, these are things Vermonters think about a lot and care for deeply. Axel’s flagrant use of brass tabs, another example - this reaches back to some of our earliest childhood memories, its at the core of who we are.”

On Friday, August 3 Local 64 opens a three-week exhibition of Construction Work, a hanging of eight recent works by celebrated Vermont artist Axel Stohlberg. Axel’s work, which has been exhibited widely, often breaks apart and reinterprets conventional materials in ways that delight and, in the case of his Local 64 showing, stir deep emotions.“As far as this kind of use of paper product is concerned, its offensive,” said a Local 64 member wishing to remain anonymous. “Using it like this, I don’t know, I’d rather have seen it recycled..”

Comprised of eight works that range from small, elegant arrays to wall-sized, quilt-like hangings, this engaging exhibition of two- and three-dimensional work offers a playful study of form, repetition, and tonal variation. The use of everyday material renders the work accessible to art novices and sophisticated initiates alike. The show opens Friday, August 3 with a reception for the artist and will close at the end of the month. Works can be viewed Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Asked to comment on the controversy stirred by his recent work, the quiet artist demurred, more keen to engage visitors directly at the opening.

Local 64 is a coworking hub and creativity incubator in downtown Montpelier. Axel Stohlberg: Construction Work is part of Local 64’s ongoing efforts to serve as a platform for presentation and discussion around the arts, culture, and technology in Vermont. Learn more at