Smack Mellon is pleased to present David Henderson’s installation A History of Aviation -Part 2 and Shannon Plumb’s new video project The Window Series. The opening of these two solo exhibitions coincides with the Verge Art Fair, taking place in multiple locations throughout the DUMBO neighborhood.

Inspired by the Late Gothic style of the Bath Abbey’s fan vaulted ceiling, David Henderson recreates the Perpendicular architecture and presents the iconic form flipped on its side in his installation A History of Aviation -Part 2.  Easily mixing high-tech and low-tech, Henderson starts off by planning the project with a 3D modeling program and then moves into the construction phase armed with a band saw outfitted with a turntable.  Adopting construction methods used for building ultra-lightweight aircrafts, the almost-gravity-defying installation is made with Styrofoam, fiberglass, carbon fiber and an aircraft-grade fabric skin.  In contradistinction to the gallery’s main architectural feature - a massive concrete coal hopper -  the circular geometry of the all-white installation dramatically carves out soaring arcs in the industrial gallery space.

Since falling in love with the silence of her very first Super 8 films, Shannon Plumb has been using storytelling without dialogue as the perfect medium for her dynamic physical humor and witty characterizations. Plumb’s latest video project, The Window Series, transforms the back gallery into a NYC apartment courtyard full of windows filled with everyday characters. Working as a one-woman show, Plumb prepares the sets and costumes and then convincingly assumes the role of each character as she shoots the HD videos with long “single takes.” While questioning the idea of personal space, the humorous videos invite a sense of voyeurism as they provide an intimate look into the private lives of Plumb’s imagined characters.

David Henderson
A History of Aviation - Part 2

“Inspired by the 15th century fan vaulting of Bath Abbey, A History of Aviation - Part 2 is the second incarnation of this modular, adaptable installation. Furthering my longstanding investigation of curved sculptural spaces and surfaces, the sculpture revests Perpendicular Gothic with its original spirit: an aspiration to defy gravity, to soar, to create a space in which the spirit can fly.

Designed on a computer, the sculpture is built using deceptively simple methods.  The skills and materials of the 15th century stonemason are exchanged for those of the contemporary backyard aircraft builder. The structural elements are carved from foam, then wrapped with layers of fiberglass and epoxy resin. The resultant rigid, ultralight ribs are assembled into the toroidal structure,  and the whole is skinned with heat-shrink Dacron fabric, also borrowed from the aircraft world.

In this manifestation, the sculpture works with Smack Mellon’s imposing industrial space, cutting  exuberant arcs in space through the rectilinear rigidity of the concrete and steel. It acts as a counterpoise to the huge mass of the concrete hopper overhead, its airiness describing and buoying the space underneath the massive structure, stretching into the dark upper reaches of the space. The sophistication of the gothic vaulting comments on the bare-bones functionality of the post-and-lintel construction of the hopper, which is an industrial-age throwback to pre-Roman times. The curves and structure echo the sweep of the bridges outside the windows.”

David Henderson, originally from Atlanta, lives and works in Brooklyn. He has a BA from Bard College, and an MFA from Columbia University. He has exhibited his work in various galleries including Knoedler & Co., Michael Steinberg, Exit Art, Sideshow Gallery, English Kills Gallery, Pratt Institute, Schroeder Romero, and the Brooklyn Museum. Henderson’s work has been written about in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Art News, and Sculpture Magazine among others. He has a permanent installation at Long Island University, Sander Gallery, NY.  Henderson has been involved for the past several years in exploration of geometric forms and the spaces they inhabit, and has a keen interest in developing new methods of fabrication and innovative use of materials. This has been coupled with an investigation of ultra-light structures, and the possibilities opened up by the minimization of mass in sculpture.


Shannon Plumb
The Window Series

“Inspired by Bruce Davidson’s seminal work, East 100th Street, I started to imagine characters that might live behind the windows in the city buildings that I walked by everyday. For this video series, the window became my new stage.  I portray imagined characters: a harried mother trying to leave with her two boys, a woman in a burqa on a very hot day, a sports fan experiencing triumph and defeat, a gallerist and artist with unsolicited material, a lady saying goodbye to her lover, and a malicious blogger/YouTube commentator.

While the characters are allowed a boundless performance the camera is restricted by the perimeters of the window frame. Sometimes actions go unseen and sometimes viewers only think they know what they are seeing. When peering into any window there are limits to what the viewer will see.

The Window Series is an ongoing project planned as a series of 12 videos to be projected in vacant Manhattan buildings. Influenced by Banksy and other street artists whose work was easily accessible I also aim to bring video and performance art to the street.”

Shannon Plumb was born in Schenectady, New York, and lives and works in Brooklyn. She has had solo exhibitions at Madison Square Park in Manhattan; Collette in Paris; 20:21 Galerie Edition Kunsthandel  in Essen, Germany; City Gallery of Schwaz, Tyrol, Austria; the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut; and the Art Association atJackson Hole, Wyoming. Her work has been included in group shows, including Reflections on the Electric Mirror: New Feminist Video, Curated by Lauren Ross, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Alternating Beats, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; Reconfiguring the Body in American Art, 1820 - 2009, The National Academy Museum, New York, NY;   Human Game, curated by Francesco Bonami, Maria Luisa Frisa, and Stefano Tonchi; Torino Triennial, curated by Francesco Bonami and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Torino, Italy; and Greater New York 2005, PS1/MoMA in Long Island City. Her films have been screened at national and international film festivals including If Looks Could Kill: Fashion in Film Festival 2008; 61 Festival Internazionale del Film, Locarno, Switzerland; Forum Expanded: Berlin Film Festival 2007; the 2006 London Film Festival; Scanners: 2006 New York Video Festival; the Lyon Film Festival, France; Rotterdam Film Festival; Anthology Film Archives and many others.

This exhibition is made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties and with support from The Concordia Foundation and Smack Mellon’s Members.  

Smack Mellon also receives generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The New York Community Trust, The Greenwall Foundation, The Robert Lehman Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund of the Tides Foundation, Bloomberg, The Greenwich Collection LTD, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation Inc., Helena Rubinstein Foundation, Brooklyn Community Foundation, 2010 JPMorgan Chase Regrant Program administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council, The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation and Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

Space for Smack Mellon’s programs is generously provided by the Walentas family and Two Trees Management.