By Diana Loercher Pazicky February 27, 2015
The poet Stephen Spender once defined wit as “the ability to discover amusing analogies between apparently unrelated things and express them clearly.” As I was contemplating the late Dina Wind’s more than 20 sculptures from the 1980s and 1990s in the exhibition Dina Wind: Transformations, on view at Bridgette Mayer Gallery through Feb. 28, I was struck by the wittiness of her work, which is not “amusing” in a conventional sense, but in its ability to jolt the observer into a novel perception of incongruity.
The incongruity of the materials and the composition suggest parody, even iconoclasm, but clearly there is a deeper message here. Wind is challenging the genre of still-life painting and expressing its artistic principles in a visual idiom of our time to “make it new”. The abstract, asymmetrical composition, enhanced by the subtle play of color and texture, is infused with energy, to the extent that the inanimate parts seem animated, anything but still. They radiate a singular beauty, recapitulating a bowl of fruit, a wedge of cheese, a dead fish, and a bouquet of flowers. The inclusion of a smashed 19th-century pewter pitcher at the base is an homage to the continuity of tradition, even while the sculpture subverts it.
Dina Wind: Transformations is on view at Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Vault Space and Lower Level Gallery, until Feb. 28, 2015.