Returning for her first solo exhibition with Galleri Urbane since 2017, Jessica Drenk presents a highly- anticipated range of sculptural artworks in Transmutations. The exhibition is the gallery’s largest solo show of the year, situated across both of its front exhibition spaces. Known and sought after for her compelling transformations that make use of common materials like books, pencils, and PVC pipes, Drenk’s newest body of work continues to push the boundaries of her creative practice. The artist utilizes a number of new methods and materials that are being exhibited for the first time, furthering her fascinating capability of blurring the boundary between the man-made and the natural.
Drenk’s practice is a dedicated investigation into materials. Employing a process-based approach, the artist sets out to cultivate the hidden potential within numerous commonplace, often-overlooked objects. “If it can be torn, cut, hardened, or softened, these are processes I will try,” writes Drenk. The result of these processes is a range of complex objects that harken to formations found in nature. Appropriately, many of the newly developed series have unfolded from increased anxieties concerning humanity’s impact on the environment. Drenk’s Aggregate and Striae series, on view for the first time in Dallas, are respectively constructed from accumulated junk mail and plastic trash bags. Stacked, compressed, and carved, the materials take on the layered appearance of tectonic formations, contrasting our momentary interaction with them to the geologic time scale of rocks and earth.
Drenk’s long-standing use of books as a raw material continues in Transmutations, revisiting select previous series and introducing new ones. On view is the largest Cerebral Mapping work yet to be displayed at Galleri Urbane, constructed from a weaving network of book spines, while a denser, more compacted version is introduced in the Compression series. New materials to the artists oeuvre are also found in the exhibition. Scrap pieces of plywood are altered through intricate relief cuts in the Countour series of works and Q-tips coated in plaster branch out in crystal-like formations found in the floor installation Dendrite. With Drenk’s varied approach to reimagining these materials comes a range of skillfully constructed forms.
Transmutations presents a body of work that is unquestionably attributed to Jessica Drenk’s well- established method of working. The exhibition, however, demonstrates the artist’s ability to expand on these techniques and ideas in an innovative manner that continues to surprise her audience.