Gary Webb: Mr. Jeans, on view May 26–August 12, 2012, is the British sculptor’s first US museum exhibition. An exciting and established young contemporary sculptor in England, Webb is well known for his use, often in a single artwork, of myriad materials including steel, aluminum, glass, mirror, plastic, brass, wood, brick, spray paint, fabrics, and assorted found objects. For Gary Webb: Mr. Jeans, deCordova will present a survey of Webb’s recent work including two new outdoor sculptures designed by the artist specifically for deCordova’s Museum Entrance Plaza.
Webb creates enigmatic objects that play games with the tradition of Modernist abstraction while commenting on twenty-first century consumer culture. The riot of materials he uses in his work is matched by his exuberant use of color and the compositional complexity of his sculptures, which walk a knife-edge between order and chaos. References to Modern Masters such as Joan Miró, Anthony Caro, and Donald Judd ricochet throughout Webb’s work, which is also informed by high-end furniture design, retail display, the vulgarity of mass-produced objects and advertising, and scads of bling. Overall, Webb’s sculptures are joyful, funny, playful, bizarre, and reflect a truly unrestrained creative imagination. The exhibition’s subtitle, “Mr. Jeans” reflects the artist’s somewhat surreal sensibility.
Gary Webb: Mr. Jeans is the third in a planned series of major solo sculpture exhibitions to be held each summer at deCordova. Chakaia Booker: In and Out in 2010 and Ursula von Rydingsvard: Sculpture in 2011 support the institution’s strategic goal to become a leading venue for contemporary sculpture, both indoors and outdoors. Gary Webb: Mr. Jeans, deCordova’s first solo exhibition dedicated to the work of a non-American artist, also bolsters the institution’s new international reach and augments newer additions to the Sculpture Park by Antony Gormley, Jaume Plensa, and Laura Ford.
Major funding provided by the Lois and Richard England Family Foundation. Additional support provided by Mary Levin Koch, Deborah A. Hawkins, Kate James, David and Barbara Slater, Meredyth Hyatt Moses, and an anonymous donor. Interpretive programming is generously supported by a grant from the Nathaniel Saltonstall Arts Fund.