The Magical Realm of St. Broxville Wood at Cal Poly Pomona

Installation View, Kellogg University Art Gallery
St. Broxville Wood: Into the Thicket, Kellogg University Art Gallery; Photo credit Sydney Walters

The Magical Realm of St. Broxville Wood at Cal Poly Pomona

Kellogg University Art Gallery, Pomona
through March 26

Written by Sydney Walters
St. Broxville Wood: Into the Thicket is a fantastical exploration of magical realism using a common object in uncommon ways. Each artist relishes in the incalculable uses of wood. Through an ingenious exploration of wood, plinths, branches and brambles become a self-propelling mechanism in fabricating a curious environment we do not wish to leave.

This exhibit features Jennifer Gunlock, Hilary Norcliffe, and Katie Stubblefield. These are three Long Beach and Los Angeles based artists who worked collaboratively to imagine St. Broxville, a fictional composite of their city of origin. The manifestation of detailed and whimsical imaginings makes a complex and surreal ode to nature.

On the right side of the Kellogg University art gallery, Hilary Norcliffe presents a novel way to experience artwork in a gallery. For many of her pieces, she fabricates sculptures to be played as musical instruments. In “House Hold”, Norcliffe creates a bare frame for a home or room. One of the studs is jointed with a tree branch. This oddity suggests delineation of reality and suggests a subtle challenge of how form and function have been defined. On the far wall, she hangs two-by-fours by rope. They hang freely in different lengths and make varying tones when struck by the wooden mallets she provides. In the corner is “Time-In-Chair”, another musical instrument made out of an abandoned wooden chair. The playable portion of the chair is attached to the interior structure of “House Hold”. On the seat, small wooden mallets hang, ready to be used to play the back support, now turned into a tuned instrument. Other playable sculptures such as a grill with guitar strings tuned to play Another One Bites The Dust, are positioned sporadically throughout the exhibit making Into the Thicket an animated playground.

The left side of the front gallery mainly showcases the work of Katie Stubblefield. Hanging from the ceiling is “Comeuppance”, a layered and twisted chandelier-like sculpture made from rebar, fabric, twigs, pieces of yoga mats and other found objects. It delicately touches the ground and handmade ceramic vessels that are partially full with water surround the piece, creating a fragmented reflecting pool. Other pieces Stubblefield calls “Brambles” or “Mobile Thickets” hang with rope at varying heights. Zip ties, metal hardware and tree limbs radiate from their centers making them resemble a fragile root system.

For Jennifer Gunlock’s wall pieces that are large-scale drawings and collages, synthesize tree houses with machines. Scaffolding and wiring intermingle with lush canopies. They have an illustrative quality that makes them appear like blueprints or schematics for futurist or post apocalyptic houses. Gunlock’s work helps situate St. Broxville into a provocative space that provides an immersive and engaging landscape to Stubblefield and Norcliffe’s installations. Visiting this exhibit is like meandering through a forest; there are secret and delightful treasures in each piece making turning every corner a rich and exciting experience.

Kellogg University Art Gallery
3801 W Temple Ave, Pomona, 91768

Exhibition Dates: January 21-March 26, 2020
Closing Reception/Artist Q&A: Tuesday, March 24th 11:30am-1:30pm
Gallery Hours:
Monday-Tuesday: 4-8pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 12-4pm
Friday: Closed
Saturday-Sunday: 12-4pm

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