When meandering through The Armory Show—one of NYC’s strongest annual art events—visitors’ eyes fall upon works both new and old, worn and wondrous. In that blitz of painting, sculpture, photo and VR, it’s hard to find pieces that quietly impart a wow factor that truly connects art with viewer—more than an Instagram or a famous name but a true appreciation for an artist’s career developments. And yet, at the end of one of the massive piers encapsulating the art fair, Carpenters Workshop Gallery dedicated their booth to a solo exhibition from Nacho Carbonell. The Netherlands-based Spanish artist’s sculptures do not shout; they tap one’s imagination and draw forth the question: “Have I seen these once in a dream?” It was a booth of impeccable construct, complete with a recreation of the artist’s workshop inside his Eindhoven studio.
Carbonell’s creations clash with themselves—organic in form, crated from metal mesh, smashed concrete and steel. For their imaginative nature, cocoon-like and in the shape of trees, they’re also quite functional as lamps. And, while they represent life, there’s also the idea of ruin at play. Carbonell notes that they’re a contemporary twist on “Pygmalion” and walking into the booth, one can’t help but feel that this was indeed a catalogue of unplaceable flora, plants that struggled through the worst in order to reveal a beauty previously unknown. This was Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s first time present at The Armory Show and suffice is to say, they were a highlight.
Images courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery