Smack Mellon presents Anne Wu’s first major solo exhibition in New York City, There Is No Far and No Near, featuring sculptural installations that weave through the gallery’s existing architecture. The sculptures present a series of thresholds composed of the artist’s signature materials: brightly painted wood, polished decorative stainless steel, plastic packing rope, incense sticks, and cast objects.
In Wu’s work, the experience of space is best understood as an impression rather than something dimensionally accurate. Rooted in the visual landscape of her home neighborhood in Flushing, Queens, her sculptural practice riffs on the built environment through fragmentation, abstraction, and material verisimilitude. Referential details texture the constructions with specificity, delineating the transformation of a neighborhood from general geo-locality to distinctive place. As culturally-encoded signifiers, incense, plastic rope, and stainless steel railings–some of which were discarded due to fabrication errors–provide punctuation throughout the installation that visually points to, rather than represents, a particular cultural experience.
The spatial elements of this installation present a loose version of a standard measurement system employed through a playful sense of improvisation. The exhibition’s title comes from a quote by Claude Bragdon, an American architect during the turn of the twentieth century, in Yve-Alain Bois’ essay “Metamorphosis of Axonometry” (1981). A factually accurate method of depicting space, axonometric projection is often used in architectural renderings where the scale of an object does not depend on its relative location. It “abolishes the fixed viewpoint of the spectator and creates several possible viewings of one and the same image…”*. Formally, Wu’s sculptures follow the intuitive delineation of axonometry as explored by Bois. They appear as uncanny constructs that have been condensed into pragmatically articulated, two-dimensional drawings, then launched back out into spatial reality. The passage of her forms through these soft conversions naturally eliminates some details through reduction, while accumulating other unexpected ones in their rearticulation.
Anne Wu is an artist from Queens, NY, who works primarily in sculpture and installation. She received an MFA in Sculpture from Yale University and a BFA from Cornell University. Her work has been exhibited at Island Gallery (New York, NY), Asia Art Archive in America (Brooklyn, NY), M 2 3 (New York, NY), Real Art Ways (Hartford, CT), The Shed (New York, NY), Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon (New Lebanon, NY), and the New York Public Library (New York, NY), among others. She was an artist-in-residence at the Smack Mellon Artist Studio Program from 2021 to 2022 as a Van Lier Fellow and the NARS Satellite Residency on Governors Island in 2020. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Art in America, and Hyperallergic. In 2022, she received a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant.