David Safhay’s first NYC solo show, Extrapolating Nature, was a one of a kind, pop-up art show in Lower Manhattan, hosted by the non-profit organization, Imagination in Space. From across the street, the all glass gallery storefront with David’s striking work behind the windows stood out like a waterfall mirage in the Sahara dessert. Yet, his work is no figment of the imagination. Exquisite craftsmanship paralleled with organic forms of a vast variety of found objects provide stunningly refreshing eye candy of an elemental elegance and flair. Swirling forms of bone, horns, driftwood and stone intermingle with masterfully constructed woodwork and metalsmithing.
Of the many remarkable pieces in the show, one of the most noteworthy is Safhay’s newest piece, as well as the largest in the collection, titled “The Composition of Compositions”. As its name implies, Safhay says that this piece is “the most ambitious of all my pieces that was not only the largest to date in this genre, but also the most time consuming,” taking over six months to complete. “The Composition of Compositions” is constructed with a large, rectangular wooden frame, surrounding a second row of carefully interlaid swatches of wood in beautifully polished fine finish. In the center of this wooden exterior is a large collage collection of a vast array of found objects varying in shape, size, texture and origin, each incredibly unique and detailed. This conglomeration of media manages to fit together in a divinely interlocking puzzle, combining stone, driftwood, metal, ceramic and more. Safhay says of his technique for creating this serendipitous collage, “I was endlessly juxtaposing form until a spark would ignite and relationships between… both visual and intellectual start connecting the dots.” Within the piece, Safhay uses carefully concealed fixatives to precisely pose each found item within its perfect location. The end result of all of this careful creation is a truly remarkable spectacle, powerful in its visual appearance as well as its implications of fluid transition from man-made structure into nature and back again.
Many of the other pieces within the show also demonstrate a seamless transition between the natural and man-made elements of their composition. Some of the more multi-dimensional pieces, such as “Witch’s Brew”, 2011 feature a self-standing piece, viewable from 360 degrees, in which a found metal pitcher is tilted forward and carefully poised atop a segment of bone resembling a large stream of luscious liquid flowing from the pitcher. The bone comes down to land within a tea cup which is nestled into another flowing base layer of bone. The simpler compositions like this one continue to demonstrate Safhays exquisite ability to blend found objects of both human origins and nature into one another and back again. The ever continuing flow within this artwork can be viewed as a reflection of the delicate balance between man and nature, and the great care and skill required to create such harmony.
David Safhay’s Extrapolating Nature gives the viewer an intriguingly unique immersion into a vortex of finely crafted and original art objects of a seemingly mystical origin. The collection’s strikingly unique use of materials juxtaposed in poignant contrast between natural and man-made, creates both visually and intellectually stimulating subjects for reflection. Safhays level of advanced craftsmanship as well as his ability to carefully combine found items from across the globe enable him to create one of a kind art forms that take on a life of their own.
Writing by Lia Simone Cornella