“Intersection of Scale,” on view January 17 through February 6 at the Chazan Gallery at Wheeler in Providence, Rhode Island presents a macro discussion about micro-scale, evidence-based art practices featuring maquettes by Doug Bosch, painting, drawings and prints by Damon Campagna and electron microscope-facilitated photography by Geoff Williams.
In some cases, Bosch’s small sculptures look like circuit boards. They might even seem like paired-down remains of the still-popular electronic board game, “Operation,” that will buzz interactively at the slightest movement of an unsure hand. Looking at his work on his dining room table prior to the exhibition’s installation, Bosch explained that a number of the maquettes he will display at Chazan Gallery are conceptually inspired by the instruments Italian physicist Leopoldo Nobili developed to advance the fields of thermodynamics and electrochemistry.
Shown both in open-air style and in hermetically sealed vitrines, some of his maquettes seem like modernist ships-in-a-bottle, which evoke a certain romance about technological advancement. As we talked, Bosch nodded in acknowledgment at my reference to circuitry and game boards. In the conversation, he added that his family has sometimes labeled the tiny sculptures that he assembles under glass as his “Flea Circus.” This suggests the wonderful world of circus miniature that Alexander Calder brought to life. It is worth mentioning that some qualities of Bosch’s artwork have a connection to the reductive balance of materials for which German artist Blinky Palermo is known.
Bosch describes himself as a science discovery geek. Carefully twisted wire elements tipped with red paint are organized neatly and securely on wooden trays that the artist sometimes paints with flat color. That is a description of more than one of his works on view. He also includes maquettes referencing earliest pile batteries and André- Marie Ampère’s electromagnetic demonstrations. When traveling, Bosch said that he tries to squeeze in a visit to some out-of-the-way place of scientific discovery as part of nearly every trip.
With this show, his artwork focuses on the suggestion of actual conductive energy. His artistic inspiration comes from such things as André-Marie Ampère’s electromagnetic research. Bosch seems to like a balance of elements to suggest the moment when parts assemble into true invention and progress. His models conceptually appear to hold that moment in stasis.
Photographer Williams is the electron microscope specialist at Brown University’s Bioimaging Lab. His photographs in this show are taken with that equipment. They are shown in horizontal groupings of two or three next to the actual thing they depict.
When visiting him at his lab, a question arose almost immediately as to whether he considered what he makes as fine art or documentation. Williams said that he sees himself as akin to Ansel Adams in terms of documenting landscape. It is just that his landscapes happen to be nanoscapes.