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Announcement
September 21, 2022

Renee Gladman
THE DREAMS OF SENTENCES
Nick Raffel
airfoil

Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University

Left: View of THE DREAMS OF SENTENCES, 2022. Right: View of airfoil, 2022. Courtesy of Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University. Photo: Dario Lasagni.

The Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts opens two concurrent solo exhibitions: Renee Gladman: THE DREAMS OF SENTENCES and Nick Raffel: airfoil. We hope you will join us for two special in-person events featuring the artists.

Renee Gladman: THE DREAMS OF SENTENCES
When Renee Gladman began drawing in 2006, she initially undertook the practice between writing projects: a way she “could write without writing.” Already known, and recognized, for cross-genre experimentation within writing, Gladman found in drawing a way to feel through the syntactical preconditions for language. Drawing was “language with its skin pulled back.” THE DREAMS OF SENTENCES is the first solo exhibition of Gladman's drawings, showing 38 framed drawings from the last three years along with selections from each of Gladman's three publications of drawings, Prose Architectures (2017); One Long Black Sentence (2020); and Plans for Sentences (2022). In the most recent book, Gladman pairs drawings with writing, page for page. Her drawing had begun to generate sentences, integrating directly into Gladman’s writing—the drawings were the plans for sentences which arrived only years later. In THE DREAMS OF SENTENCES written lines coincide with drawn lines, calling forth forms we associate with writing, including the margin and the written line, into an image space. Images can be comprised of writing’s structures alone and the graphic lines of drawing can develop syntax. The drawings can dream of sentences.

Related program
A Reading with Renee Gladman: Tuesday, September 27 at 4:30pm EST in the gallery.
View the exhibition handout, including an essay by curator Benjamin Chaffee and checklist.

Nick Raffel: airfoil
Nick Raffel’s sculpture, a custom-made high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fan, is suspended from the ceiling of the gallery space. For airfoil, Raffel researched the interior temperature and humidity distribution, working to create a three-dimensional thermal map. His research also included the function and maintenance of the gallery’s current HVAC system and the architectural history of the building itself, designed by Roche-Dinkaloo and opened in 1973. This historic design, indebted to architectural modernism of the '50s and '60s, expresses past understandings of energy usage (pre-1970s oil crisis). Raffel positioned airfoil at the junction of these concerns and conceives of the sculpture as a “sensor/indicator rather than as a discrete object.” Its presence is evidential, pointing to, or reffering to, the management of the building's thermal exchange systems, towards the building as a “convective mechanism.” Raffel's sculpture also provides some utility: it does something to the material conditions within the gallery, mixing together stratified warm and cool air. And yet, airfoil leaves open the actual materials that comprise it. The exhibition's didactics do not include a title for the sculpture nor list its materials. Through this openness, airfoil draws our attention to the material presence of that which we thought of as not (in space). Which is, put simply, air.

Related program
Artist talk: Wednesday, October 5, 4:30pm EST in the gallery.

View the exhibition handout, including an essay by curator Benjamin Chaffee and checklist.

Gallery hours are Tuesday–Sunday, 12–5pm. Both exhibitions are curated by Benjamin Chaffee. Exhibition management by Rosemary Lennox and art installation by Paul Theriault. Follow the Gallery on Instagram for exhibition and programming updates.

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