About the Exhibition
The power of the obelisk—its familiarity as well as its most common associations with grandeur, triumph and death—has entranced Christopher Hewat (b.1949, New York City, NY) and inspired his latest work. Municipal Object is an intense exploration of the obelisk form, from realistic to theatrical. The sculptures are large monuments viewed in the round. In this exhibition, Hewat has fenced the objects, creating a sanctuary devoted to memory and inviting the viewer to contemplate mortality without specific grief.
Following his last exhibition of inlaid wood screens, Hewat returns to his interest in cemetery architecture, which he first expressed in human-size shields resembling “coffin-lids.” With artful woodworking skills and an unerring intuition for classical proportion, Hewat has created dignified geometric objects that claim space dramatically and emotionally. Hewat patinas the hollow spires—which are made from hemlock, maple and tulip—with sensuous marks and warm elegant color. Surrounding each monolith and protecting its spirit are delicate fences detailed with finely shaped filigree ornaments.
Reflecting an aesthetic predilection of his generation, Hewat is drawn to geometry, which allows him to push the expressive power of texture, color and form against a formal structure. With his choice of an ancient subject as the armature for his work, Hewat appears to accept both the ambiguity and the challenge of recreating historical form in contemporary art.
Hewat’s work is exhibited along with works by Edgar Heap-of-Birds, Margia Kramer, Thomas Lawson, and Yong Soon Min.