Polly Apfelbaum & Isa Melsheimer’s “Via Appia” at Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna

Polly Apfelbaum & Isa Melsheimer’s “Via Appia” at Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna

Galerie nachst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwalder, Vienna, is exhibiting “Via Appia” by artists Polly Apfelbaum and Isa Melsheimer through June 15, 2019.

The double exhibition includes new ceramics as well as paper- and textile-based works. It is the first collaboration of the artists following two solo exhibitions by Apfelbaum and three for Melsheimer at the gallery.

The title — “Via Appia” — comes from an encounter on the Appian Way in Rome in 2013 when Polly Apfelbaum was on a scholarship from the American Academy and Isa Melsheimer on a scholarship from the German Academy Villa Massimo. Both artists became fascinated by the block paving of the famous road that was lined with cypress trees and the relics of tombs and graves dating from ancient Rome.

According to the gallery, “the Appian Way symbolizes the transition between the urban and the rural.” 

“One of her ceramic sculptures references the decaying Macaranã swimming stadium built for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which could stand as a sculptural entity, but also as a Roman amphitheatre,” the gallery adds.

Apfelbaum’s work relates with elements from “Minimal Art, Pop Art, but also Post-Minimalism and Appropriation Art, without underscoring the established art canon,” the gallery says. Fundamentally anti-authoritarian in approach, the artist’s work reflects her specific ability to use reverse psychology that is applied with a sense of humor and certain skepticism. Her work is a combination of high and popular culture, “she sees it as radically provisional, highlighting procedural aspects rather than end results.”

Her ceramics and textile- and paper-based works on view at the exhibition are micro-environments, small-scale landscapes that depict the Appian Way, the sky, the vegetation, and the paving stones.

Melsheimer’s work explores urban habitats. It also delves into the circumstances under which they are shaped and altered. 

“Arrayed alongside sculptures made of concrete, glass and ceramic are textile-based works and ensembles comprised of living plants,” the galley informs. Alongside the sculptures are gouache paintings, the imagery of these paintings are overlaid with quotes from genres such as art, architecture, design and pop culture.

Made up of the constructed and the organic, the artist’s new ceramics are hybrid structures.


Founder: Louise Blouin  


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