Carmel Buckley is an artist infatuated with line and uncertainty. An associate professor at The Ohio State University and a native of Derby, England, Buckley is enjoying her third Cincinnati exhibition in a little over a year. Featuring a series of drawings and etchings along with freestanding and wall-mounted objects, Prints and Sculpture at Clay Street Press in Over-the-Rhine is a retrospective look at her creative output from the early 1990s through the present day.
Dubbed Tools for the Imagination (1992-93), the earliest pieces on view are a patchwork assemblage of found objects and clay that evoke a fantasy utility denied by their improbable composition. Buckley’s numbered Tools lean towards identification but resist certainty. One bulbous object (#7) implies a medieval weapon, while a more enigmatic one (#9) possesses serpentine qualities. A third (#2) employs the discarded remains of a silver garden-hose nozzle to emulate the appearance of a French horn, but refuses to be pigeonholed as such.
While all of these objects are three-dimensional, their use of wire and wall placement emphasizes shape over form. The erratic orgy of lines that comprise a fourth Tool (#6) is redolent of the late painter Cy Twombly’s manic gestures and feels utterly two-dimensional. Gliding along the caster-capped handle of a rattle-like piece, the eye comes to rest upon an echo of the toy’s existence. The wire-forged outline strikes a delicate balance between the linear and the sculptural.
Carmel Buckley's Prints and Sculpture is on display through November. Go here to read Alan Pocaro's full review.