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Sandee Moore
Zane Wilcox at the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery
October 04, 2017

The perceptual play of Regina artist Zane Wilcox’s one-man show at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery is immediate. I catch myself miscounting the elements that make up the installation, dismissing the twinned sculptures lined up on the other side of the room as immaterial mirror reflections. These three, as in a magician’s trick, have been sawed in half and made whole through a mirror prosthesis.

Zane Wilcox, Perceptual Playground, 2015, reduction fired stoneware, plywood, varnish, mirrors, steel, paint (photo: Gabriela García-Luna)

Wilcox’s materials evoke the school gymnasium and the physics lab. They are more robustly institutional than playful. Slabs of laminated plywood remind me of the bleachers in my junior high school gym. The varnished ramps of two of the sculptures could be borrowed from a marble-drop experiment demonstrating the forces of gravity and friction. Sandwiched between birch sheets balanced on their long edges is a ramp that rises from each end toward a cinder block balanced between the two walls. A more static utility is suggested by a form that appears to be two wooden pedestals each supporting a concrete block of the same dimension joined at the bottom to form a rough U.

Although his sculptures are straightforwardly minimal on first glance, Wilcox makes his dedication to materiality clear: “Certainly, I’m taking some of the vocabulary of the Minimalists, but I’m after a much richer, less perfect, materiality – something that’s a little more grounded in the reality of our world.”

He mimics the Minimalist taste for industrial products through carefully crafted surfaces. However, examination of the gritty grey blocks reveals the rich texture of fired ceramics masked by a flat coat of grey and a connection to craft and the famed Regina Clay movement. Distinctly lacking the funkiness of that 1970s ceramics moment, Wilcox’s forms are a contrarian homage – which adds yet another perceptual trick to the proceedings.

Zane Wilcox: Perceptual Playground continues until December 31.
Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery:
The gallery is accessible.

Sandee Moore is a nationally exhibited artist, arts administrator, and occasional art writer. She can be followed on Twitter @SandeeMoore.



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