Marrow Gallery, San Francisco, California
Continuing through March 5, 2022
Midway through Andrei Konchalovsky’s 2019 anti-heroic film “Sin,” we see the haggard, driven Michelangelo alone in his studio, caressing the marble knee of a draped statue. Pope Julius enters, demanding to see the Moses destined for his tomb, and pulling off the sheet to reveal that only the knee, emerging from the huge white stone block, is finished, he thrashes the artist. It’s actually a humorous take on artistic obsession, and if historically inaccurate, it is indicative of the seductive mystique of marble-made-flesh in classical statuary. That seductiveness has not gone away.
The Oakland sculptor Stephanie Robison juxtaposes polished marble, worked into Arp-like biomorphic shapes, with patches or three-dimensional shapes of colored felt that contrast humorously with the marble, suggesting, variously, fungi, anemones, foliage and even hairpieces. “Close Contact” comprises twenty-odd wall reliefs and a trio of freestanding sculptures set atop custom-made steel bases. The works, to quote her website (which features a photo of the artist happily “hugging rocks”), “synthesize and fuse: organic and geometric, natural and architectural, handmade and the uniform industrial.” The exhibit follows by a year the Portland-born artist’s “Cloud Construction,” a Christo-like wrapping of the interior space of the San Francisco Art Commission’s Grove Street Window Installation Site in white fabric. The effect was to mimic the fog banks that descend from Twin Peaks into Hayes Valley: terrestrial clouds, “seemingly innocent, perhaps even magical” that can “conceal, fog or obscure the world around us.”