Rachelle Dang: Couroupita/Corpus is on view at A.I.R. Gallery through December 20, 2020.
Two columnar forms face the viewer as she enters A.I.R. Gallery into a solemn, even funereal, atmosphere that engenders a respectful posture of silence and delicate treading, lest one interrupt the whispered conversations fossilized in Dang’s Couroupita/Corpus (2020). Dang’s sculpture, rooted in couroupita guianensis — known in the vernacular as the cannonball tree — is heavy with the possibility of abundant growth. Yet this allusion to botanical mobility is artifice. Should a breeze wind its way into the gallery, there would be no quiver of either leaf or budding flower. This formal heaviness proliferates at the bottom of the trunk where the tree reveals evidence of its yield: bulbous, almost skull-like forms weighed down by their ripeness and calcified in pristine condition. Here, decomposition and the natural order are denied and, as such, unsettle.