Monday August 1, 2011 | by Jason Gutierrez

SEEN: Erich Woll’s whimsical summer menagerie comes alive in New York City

FILED UNDER: Exhibition, New Work, Seen

Worthless Frank, 2009, by Erich Woll

Artist Erich Woll is currently exhibiting a few pieces currently in the summer show of Winston Wächter Gallery’s New York arm, and they are perfectly timed for that mood of outdoors whimsy that arises when temperatures are high and days are long. A gray, blown glass squirrel stands upright at attention holding a small battery in his paws in a piece entitled, Worthless Frank (2009). Glass dialog bubbles hang from the wall, stuffed with feathers. That piece’s title is, dryly enough, Pillow Talk (2008). And then there is the multi-colored, nine-piece installation called The New Normal (2010), a series of glass insects pinned to the wall to form a bizarre and humorous glass insectarium.

But he is no stranger to the incorporation of humor into his pieces. Woll, who has worked with Dale Chihuly, Dino Rosin, Petr Novotny, and Pino Signoretto, created a large glass egg, filled with feathers and entitled, Incubator (2010). In one piece, aptly titled It’s Better to Regret Something You’ve Done Than Something You Haven’t Done (2006), a lovesick squirrel lays flat on his back atop a bed of small, green glass tubes, clutching his heart and a look of what can only be described as anguish on his face.

The New Normal (2010) by Erich Woll

This humor is also a way for Woll to infuse the work with some of his personality and overall perspective. One can’t help but see the tormented squirrel and also see a wryly playful sensibility that also incorporates a deep seeded sensitivity to the plights of others, even if they are just a squirrels, and an outlook that sees optimistic resolutions to all problems. The feathers encased in the glass egg imply that we never stop growing. The battery being held in, “Worthless Frank,” may not provide energy, “nutrients,” but it is being offered as an alternative. Finally, if may not be clear if the fallen squirrel is upset because he regrets something not done or if his regret is a result of actions already taken, but what is clear is that for Woll fully endorses living life to it’s fullest. The smile elicited by his work may linger, but it doesn’t linger as long as the feeling that he offered up a very personal piece of his worldview through his work.

-Jason Gutierrez

If you go:

Erich Woll
“Summer Show”
Through September
Winston Wachter Fine Arts
530 W. 25th Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 255-2718

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.