On view at Spencer Brownstone Gallery and online, “Switch Back,” as conceived by Jane South, reveals the culmination of an experimental digression from the usual scope of her practice: namely, as a series of soft sculptures.
These new pieces—which the Brooklyn-based artist crafted out of materials like canvas, tarps, and packing foam—stand in stark contrast to the elaborate, machine-inspired paper-and-wood fabrications that have dominated her work in the past. Likewise, in previous shows at the gallery, South has staged sprawling installations out of such inflexible, monumentally-scaled sculptural edifices as well as smaller, self-contained counterparts resembling mechanical contraptions—lending to the overall impression of a generic industrial landscape.
While the pieces in “Switch Back,” being more malleable, do not cut as imposing of silhouettes, the patterns they manifest bring to mind other dimensions of manufacturing-centric environments: in the manner that, Lash (2020), for instance, echoes the shape of a massive wheel—or in the way that Cutter (2019), alternately, as a quilt-like assemblage, resembles the dishevelment of discarded fabric swatches strewn across a garment factory’s floor.
Jane South, Cutter, 2019. Acrylic, fabric, batting, thread, and mixed media, 81 × 68 inches.