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Cal Siegel at Matthew Brown
August 4, 2020 - August 26, 2020
At Matthew Brown in Hollywood, a solo show by Cal Siegel called “Fine as All Outdoors” ruminates on colonial architecture through a series of large scale works that are clad in darkly-stained dollhouse shingles. The beautifully crafted works are strange hybrids of familiar architectural forms — porch steps, fireplaces hearths, rounded ornamental features — and pared-down minimalist sculptures.
In relation to the inch-wide dollhouse shingles that cover the exterior of the works, the scale sits in an uncanny space between maquette and usable structure. The sculptures, which imply functional use, feel at once too big and too small. This eeriness is heightened by the absence of any windows or doors. The structures fail to offer an invitation into an interior space, and seem built to keep out, rather than invite in. Siegel explains that “architectures, which we hold as self-evident, are imbued with inherent notions of power implicit in their motivations and erections.”
Much of Siegel’s work is informed by his upbringing in Massachusetts and looks critically at the symbols of colonialism that permeate through American culture. A series of small watercolor drawings of apple trees in the exhibition expand the colonial impact to nature (the apple tree was introduced in North America by 17th century colonists). Though unlike the imposing coldness of the colonial structures that Siegel references, his forms are delicately handcrafted and emanate a delicate warmth.
On view: August 4–August 26, 2020 (open by appointment)