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Tom Nussbaum
Up in the Attic, recent sculpture and works on paper
May 17 - June 18, 2006
Reception, Wednesday - May 17, 6-9 pm

 
 
 
Nussbaum - Listen
"Listen"
acrylic on resin
11" x 14" x 11"
edition of 9
(click on image for larger view)
 
 
Nussbaum - Installation View
Detail of Installation
(click on image for larger view)
 
 
Nussbaum - Crow
                      Girl
"Crow Girl"
acrylic on resin
10" x 13" x 7"
edition of 9
(click on image for larger view)
 
 
Nussbaum -  Arm in Arm
"Arm in Arm"
acrylic on resin
12" x 9" x 5"
edition of 9
(click on image for larger view)
 
 
Nussbaum - Looking Up
"Looking Up"
acrylic on resin
17" x 6" x 4"
edition of 9
(click on image for larger view)
 
 
Nussbaum - Ear to Ear
"Ear to Ear"
acrylic on resin
6" x 7 x 5"
edition of 9
(click on image for larger view)
 
 
Nussbaum - On Top
"On Top"
acrylic on resin
13" x 5" x 5"
edition of 9
(click on image for larger view)
 
 
Nussbaum - Pushing
"Pushing"
acrylic on resin
7" x 9" x 5"
edition of 9
(click on image for larger view)
 
 
Nussbaum - Apple Girl
"Apple Girl"
acrylic on resin
19" x 7" x 7"
edition of 9
(click on image for larger view)
 
 
Nussbaum - Dog/Cat/Rat
"Dog/Cat/Rat"
acrylic on resin
13" x 13" x 4"
edition of 9
(click on image for larger view)
 

In the 1930's W.P.A. artists produced a two volume compendium wonderfully illustrating, in careful watercolors, the broad diversity of American folk art, including carvings from wind vanes to whirligigs, decoys, homespun toys, cigar store Indians, totems, ship's figureheads and the like. Sculptor Tom Nussbaum seems, in his whimsical sculptures and works on paper, to have rediscovered a cache of such work that might have escaped their notice. His work makes reference to such folksy sources in a bright and colorful faux na´ve style that also projects the formal sophistication of an artist like Elie Nadelman who shared his keen interest in Americana, or the rough-hewn works of his contemporary Stephen Balkenol. The small scale of these figurative works with their straightforward hieratic presentation, and use of integrated bases also link them to other sculptural traditions such as Native American totems, Latin American Santos figures, or African reliquary carvings. From such touchstones Nussbaum has created a body of seemingly simple iconic images that tug at our memories while gently teasing our psyches. Indeed many of Nussbaum's figures employ disjunctive scale in suggestive pairings to form images that hint at the sort of Jungian archetypes that haunt our collective imaginations, dreams, and nightmares. But their mysterious and ambiguous presences owe more to a personal strain of homespun surrealism than to any particular reference. His sculptures are clearly the product of an imagination keenly attuned to nuances of form and folklore, but one that is also deeply involved with the simple mysteries of living. In this Nussbaum's figures are recognizable as everymen and women standing with stoic firmness in the face of the absurd.

Tom Nussbaum lives and works in New Jersey. He has shown his sculpture and work on paper extensively and has realized numerous large scale public commissions. This is his first project for Metaphor.

   
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