Alisha Wessler (MFA 2013) exhibits a new body of work at Smack Mellon (Brooklyn, NY) in A Story of a Story, an exhibition curated by Shlomit Dror.
A similar spread of strange objects awaits in Alisha Wessler‘s two table-top installations, though of a distinctly more mystical sort. One includes seedpods, the remains of birds, wasps’ nests, and a squirrel tail, while the other, “After the Soldiers and Shrikes” (2015), consists of a quasi-modernist geometric arrangement of honey locust thorns. (If Walter De Maria hadn’t died, but had merely been miniaturized in a freak shrinking ray accident, he might have made something that looked like this.) Considering these artifacts feels like peering into some foreign culture’s Wunderkammer, or analyzing the evidence gathered at the site of a pagan ritual. The threat of violence lurking in the beautiful honey locust thorns is not merely a product of their incredible sharpness and presentation reminiscent of arrowheads in a history museum; the thorns were used by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War to pin together their tattered uniforms, and the small carnivorous birds called shrikes are known to impale their prey on them. These stories might be impossible to discern without the helpful wall text provided, but the elegance and simplicity of “After the Soldiers and Shrikes” is deeply satisfying as its own formal end.
— Benjamin Sutton, “Dissecting and Detecting Stories in Found Objects and Remnants,” Hyperallergic, July 23, 2015.