The White Columns Curated Artist Registry
is an online platform for emerging and under-recognized artists to share images and information about their respective practices. The Registry seeks to create a context for artists who have yet to benefit from wider critical, curatorial or commercial support. To be eligible, artists cannot be affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City.
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STATEMENT OF WORK
Habby Osk’s work rests upon basic physics - balance, movement and time. These concepts are the concrete medium for her artistic practice which toys with the limits of balance and stability using gravity and force. Through sculpture, photography, and installations, Osk reveals a tension between movement and stillness by placing objects in seemingly unstable positions, capturing a moment of perpetual precarity. These compositions of fragility emphasize the potential for destruction but within an equally mirrored state of balance and stability. An anchor creates this paradoxical condition of existence whereby it is both physically strong and structural crutch, but its state as such serves to invoke its own fragility. She approaches this simultaneously with playfulness and suspense, probing how far objects can go without tipping over and capturing that momentary stillness before an inevitable collapse or transformation over time.
Osk employs a range of materials to underpin the relationship between time and physicality. Emphasizing the fragility within stability, Osk uses devices that are considered sturdy, such as concrete or wood for a singular point of structural support, delicately balanced to uphold the whole piece, the object of strength being then the most fragile component. For her photographic work, she casts food such as jello, guava, and gelatin. As a malleable substance with a temporary existence, they physically and conceptually invite destruction and mortality. In combining permanent objects such as wood and plaster with impermanent materials such as food, wax and plastic bags, Osk can capture the series minuscule incidents that surmount to change, whether it be the momentary life of destruction or the transformation of physicality over time. In both her sculptural and photographic work, these materials are simple and lightly treated with a minimal color palette, lending a simplicity that stimulates focus on the fragility and suspense of her work.
Osk’s history within contemporary dance and ballet is present in her work today through her use of physicality as a concept and the performative nature of capturing a moment within movement. The strength required by a dancer to allow for the appearance of seamless balance and fragility through unnatural movements of the body is reminiscent of the very principle of Osk’s installations.
As a child in Iceland, Osk experienced life in a geographical state of tension and unease as a result of earthquake activity and sporadic weather. The chaos wrought by these conditions would arise suddenly and unexpectedly. Growing up in a space laden with this constant potential for destruction can only but be internalized. This condition is embodied and expressed in Osk’s work in a very tangible way. The moment of stillness underpinned by a dormant calamity and a sense of unease as experienced collectively in Iceland manifests physically in Osk’s photography and sculpture. The beauty of nature, too, invokes serenity, however, it is the tantalizing beauty that is the threat itself, in the same way, Osk’s anchor of strength it’s structural point of fragility.
Most of Osk’s work employs geometric shapes both as inspiration from her relationship with nature and her interest in maths, chemistry, and the formulas she studied in school. The components that make up DNA mirror the shape of the molds she creates for her work. The smooth and simple lines curates a vision of calm and lends focus to the overall structural concept to the piece.