The key to Gerald Wolfe's work is an idea of a "still-life," not as a genre of painting but as subject matter, specifically the investigation of stillness itself.
Wolf’s assemblage of various everyday objects, brought together by the artist's curiosity, anchored in the space and worked on in plaster, cement, and paint until what is distilled is an actual stillness, weighted material presence. The free-standing and wall-mounted sculptures in this exhibit are subtle inversions of a still-life; they are “stilled life,” beings full of stillness. Their scale-less quality allows them to enact the role of some archaic domesticity.
In his paintings, Wolfe continues working in layers, navigating through several modes of representation: applied texture, fading, flat industrial paint, and geometric patterns of reverse perspective. Some paintings start to fold and twist from the vertical plain, serving as a visual link to plaster wall sculptures. Arrested motion and weighted-down time are made explicit within the tension between the layers.
One sculpture that captures the humor and seriousness of Wolfe's work is "All Talk" (2022). The plaster box-like shapes are stacked over a wood board topped with a rounded form. Upon closer inspection, the shape reveals to be an inflatable "thought bubble" balloon, cast and coated in plaster. As a result, the sculpture contemplates brevity, levity, and heaviness, and it reveals a transformation that the everyday object underwent to be absorbed into the composition to become a "concrete thought bubble." A thought, so fleeting and quick and barely tangible, becomes imbued with heaviness, gravity, and weight.