Nina Johnson is proud to present Domain, an exhibition of recent sculptures by Tom Scicluna, opening on January 14th and on view through March 6th, 2021. For this series, Scicluna will install nine sculptures constructed using readymade materials on the gallery’s back garden patio.
Tom Scicluna is interested in images—the ways they dictate our interactions and how they can become material. Advertisements, stock photos, and news images all have an indexical relationship to the physical things they describe. But when they transform from object or site into a finite object like an image, something uncanny happens. This process informs Scicluna’s paradoxically minimalist design, yet profoundly complex sculptures and site-based works. For Domain, Scicluna tapped into three specific sources: commercially manufactured materials, discarded construction-related debris, and found online images.
In the past, Scicluna has investigated notions of the site with a hyper-local focus, often gathering found objects from within a one block radius or less. For Domain, he cast a wider net to engage South Florida as a region. As referenced in the sculptures’ zip code titles (and with consideration to a series of advertised images), Scicluna traveled to various locations to pick up and haul away loads of concrete, granite, roofing tiles, and other building and residential supplies listed for free online. He then assembled them into rectangular structures within gabion cages typically used for retaining walls and residential stone fences. Removed from their original indexical relationship, the sculptures also speak to the commodification of space. Visually austere yet saturated with the objects’ histories, the sculptures challenge the relationship between an image and the site it represents, as well as systems of circulation, exchange, and value.
Oscillating between disposable digital entities and reified material form, and utilizing everyday construction-related materials and debris, Scicluna’s project invokes Robert Smithson’s theories of the site and non-site. However, in his hands, these discarded goods take on new meaning and pose questions about waste, worth, and the life cycle of images and objects. Through stacks of composite stone, clay, sand, sometimes pierced with metal, and all wrapped in steel cages, Scicluna challenges his viewers to reconsider our preconceptions about the images we consume and the spaces that we inhabit.