FRITZ BUEHNER

Fritz Buehner has sculpted 1950s colonial and tract style houses set in the space of the suburban house lot. The houses come from his own childhood experience in suburban Connecticut, but they also reference the broader suburban developments of the fifties. The scene of a suburban house isolated in the landscape reawakens the peacefulness of childhood. The sculptures evoke the protected dreamer of youth, the ability to escape into a fantasy world of play. According to Bachelard, "miniature is an exercise that has metaphysical freshness; it allows us to be world conscious at slight risk." However, Buehner also addresses the intrinsic class inequities and environmental violence of the suburban landscape. The artist states, "by carving away a greater portion of wood than is left, I address, metaphorically, another level of violence – environmental degradation that is linked to suburban sprawl, and the desire to conquer and dominate nature." Buehner carves the sculptures out of sections of tree trunk, retaining the recognizable exterior curve of the original log, but stripping it of its bark to expose the wood grain and growth-rings. Each piece, then, has a shifting scale; the life-sized physical reality of the log contrasts with the miniature virtual world of the carvings. The sculptures are presented on spun aluminum forms that taper down to the floor, making a funnel shape. The sculptured log appears to float across the wide mouth of the funnel. It is raised from the floor yet not separate, not isolated on a base. The overall effect is contemporary, and yet reminiscent of another childhood memory:
the movie scene of a tornado carrying the house off to Oz.
     
   
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