Liz Shannon, 'Review' (The List, 19/06/2008)
There are two identical wall paintings, apparently of sunsets, in Michael Stumpf’s new exhibition. Why two sunsets, and no sunrise? Part of the strange mix of disparate elements that somehow creates a specific sense of time and place, the work features in Stumpf’s exhibition continually dodges the viewer’s expectations.
Stumpf’s use of sculptural installation, found materials and references to modernist practice is refreshing and original. The large hanging sculpture, ‘When We Slow Down’, is attached to the ceiling via a cast bronze hook and ring – the last place you would expect an artist to use this special material. Elsewhere, Stumpf alters a famous line from a Robert Frost poem for one of his titles, ‘The woods are angry dark and deep, is it light where you are yet?’ In the piece ‘Blackened’, the sculpture’s collapsing angles give the impression of a modernism on its knees, alternatively suggesting the piece could represent an animal whose knees are about to buckle.
While the narrative behind the work is never made explicit, this exhibition has been constructed by an artist with a confident hand who is clear about what he has to say.