Brecht Wright Gander, Homemaker’s Dry Bar, USA, 2018
The process of concrete casting allows Gander to capture his ephemeral impulses in the concrete, taking on a surprisingly fresh durability. Gander’s use of foam and concrete is employed in the application of his Homemaker’s Dry Bar. Working within the constraints of standard casework cabinet, his treatment of pigmented concrete expresses his will to “break free of the box.” Expanding spray foam, a conventional industrial insulator, creates a bubbly texture when applied. By spraying a wet concrete panel mold with spray foam Gander allows the foam to create a pattern, leaving the final details to chance and randomness as it expands. Un-molded the concrete panel is spiny and rigid (the reverse of the foam’s bubbly texture). The effect is an intense, roiling energy with the gravity and stasis of concrete.
Much like his Ode to the Wrong Angle Series of vessels, which are conglomerations of found objects that are then cast in aluminum, the door panels move quickly from impulse to solid material as technology allows.
Gander treats functionality as a ground for aesthetic play. His wide-ranging curiosity fuels his research-driven practice. He engages a multitude of unconventional materials, describing his unique works as “a culmination of many collisions.” Gander seeks out materials that allow him to go from impulse to final result with few intermediate steps. Using resins, paper pulps, single-use molds, spray foam, and cast-able concrete allows the artist’s hand to resonate throughout the work, addressing the “longing for haptic connection” Gander feels is a by-product of digital culture.
A recent move to a large warehouse-sized studio space in rural New Jersey has opened up Gander’s opportunity to experiment with new materials, including lightweight glass fiber, reinforced concrete, and color-shifting pigments, while allowing his works to take on a monumental scale.
Maintaining a delicate balance between whimsy and function helps stabilize Gander’s design practice.
“I want a certain level of seriousness with my play, to know that it’s connected to an inquiry that has a weighted intention behind it,” he says. “When it’s playful but also having to hit these measures of functionality, that’s the kind of place that I find the most compelling.”
Medium: Pigmented Concrete, Steel, Glass
Dimensions: 78” H x 49” W x 24” D, 198.12 H x 124.46 W x 60.96 D cm
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