A new addition to Brooklyn’s art scene, Fisher Parrish Gallery recently opened up shop and christened their space with its first show, an exhibition of paperweights by an impressive roster of over 100 artists and designers.
“The Paperweight Show” showcases the diverse possibilities for a simple object. “The paperweight seemed to really bring both the artists and designers together, as both a ‘functional’ design object, but also just a small sculpture,” Fisher says. “I’m interested in objects whose function can be ascribed to it with one simple action. When an artist or designer is invited to produce an object like this, the options are limitless.”
Certainly, the unassuming little object, which treads the line between practicality and non-utilitarian gift-giving fodder, is compelling, decidedly curious, and surprisingly ripe for artistic interpretation. Placed alongside each other, the objects in the show seem to take on anthropomorphic qualities, appearing to be communicating with one another like the vessels in Giorgio Morandi‘s still life paintings.
Clockwise: Brian Rochefort, Paul Wackers, Alex Reed, B. Thom Stevenson, Mariana Vidal Escabi
Participating artists Brian Rochefort, Paul Wackers, and Alex Reed all provided varyingly organic forms, each contributing a paperweight reminiscent of a rock formation or crystalline assemblage. Rochefort’s weight looks like the leftover matter from another world’s natural disaster, Wacker’s like a strange urban formation that might have assimilated synthetic objects and organic deposits over time, and Reed’s like dark plasma scattered with materials that feel oceanic in origin.
Other artists provided more readymade interpretations. The experimental photographer duo behind the moniker LAZY MOM contributed what looks like a handful of Runts candy combined with cut-up dollar bills within an plasticine mold. Their object induces ASMR-esque skin crawling.
Christopher Chiapa’s interpretation of the paperweight is a mimesis of a joystick—perhaps the first paperweight that prizes movement over stationary, pun intended. And Nick DeMarco imagines the paperweight as a collection of small plastic bags decorated in allover print batman symbols, stars, and spiders—all filled with cement. Perhaps baggies like these do act as paperweights on the desks of our local party-drug entrepreneurs, but we can only speculate.
Clockwise: LAZYMOM, Christopher Chiapa, Nick DeMarco, Ladies and Gentleman Studio
Many artists embraced the functionality potential of a paperweight. Ladies and Gentleman Studio created a bronze-based lightbulb sculpture sporting beads, one wood, one glass. It serves as a toy for fidgety hands tired of typing. With a similar ethos, Clemens Kois contributed a modular set of textured molecular model imitations. The silhouette is lanky and mod, and feels like a self-aware collusion of kids craft corner and your typical museum gift shop.
Then there’s the standout bronze paperweight by LA-based painter Aaron Elvis Jupin, which Fisher says she is “obsessed” with, and so are we, for its mid century Art Deco vibes and compelling cutouts. And perhaps the most sculptural of the lot is Matthew Ronay’s piece “Tomb”, which is a surrealistic, carved and dyed wood piece that feels like it wants to be reproduced on a grand scale to weigh down enormous stacks of paper.