Tales on message boards that are unlikely enough to elicit significant doubt are often followed by “Pics or it didn’t happen.” In the case of the work of Tom Pfannerstill, we could update that to “Didn’t happen until I touch it.” The works in his “From the Street” series are pieces basswood carved into shapes and then painted to resemble, incredibly, folded and stained pieces of mass-produced detritus like beer cans and KFC containers. They’re close enough to pass for the real thing on first glance, for sure. Only when you look very carefully are traces of hand-painted type evident. My favorite is the legal pad.
Anyone who takes this much painstaking time and effort on artworks of this type has earned the right to expound a little on their meaning, which Pfannerstill does on his website. Here’s an excerpt:
Each of these objects was at one time a near-perfect clone of millions of others of it’s type. It was designed and manufactured to exacting standards. By the time I find it, it has become a tiny study of opposing forces. Mechanical geometric precision is altered by organic twists, bends and folds. The inherent rationality is overlaid with elements of chance. The sparkling clean surfaces are smudged and marked by everyday dirt, grit and grime. No two objects have exactly the same journey , so no two are marked in exactly the same way. Each wears a record of its own particular history, has become unique. It is this difference, this particular story of this particular object that I attempt to capture.
I almost wish we were Buzzfeed so that I could write a headline like “PAINTED WOOD AMAZING BLAH BLAH. NUMBER FOUR WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.”