September 2015 Exhibition: STALLMAN
'Rhythm of The Heart' Stallman
By Claire Hanser
Artist duo Jason Hallman and Stephen Stum have gained recent notoriety for their distinctive canvas-on-edge sculptures, and they continue to find ways to innovate within this unique medium. In their most recent body of work, color takes the spotlight; however, in a bold new move, these pieces (including Rhythm of the Heart) bring fiery sensibilities to the foreground. Charcoal, embers, molten metals and smoke come to mind when we consider this abstracted sculptural cardiogram. Never predictable, always changing, its rises, falls, and twists invoke both the medical and the emotional “rhythm” of the heart.
The story of each Stallman piece is as crucial to its appreciation as its design; the two artists (partners in business and in life) work on each tableau together. Filling it in from the sides toward the center, they unify their intentions by meeting in the middle. Their work is, at its core, about collaboration and partnership—between colors, between people, between humans and nature—and their innovative technique renders each piece a collaboration of mind as well as body. Each Stallman work is a tandem journey across the panel, where the viewer’s eye becomes a third collaborator, following the evocative sojourn of canvas ribbon from right to left and back again.
In Rhythm of the Heart, Stallman employs an organic/industrial conflation. In this undulating composition we could as easily see a river lit at midnight by a harvest moon, a vein of shimmering gold in the depths of a coal mine, or the time-lapsed vista of a darkened highway. The palette certainly brings fire and metal to mind, but may hearken also to flesh and charcoal, to the hard-worn surface of a tarnished vessel, the dirt of eons rubbed away to reveal the gilding underneath. In Rhythm of the Heart, we find the shimmer of audacious beauty in the tangles of a dark grey vortex; a hopeful gleam that tantalizes us from deep in the shadows.