Dan Gunn: The Shallow Act of Seeing at The John Michael Kohler Arts Center

December 13, 2020 - May 16, 2021

Pushing against the very qualities that define their medium, artists Dan Gunn, Bayne Peterson, and Rachel Beach defy the physical rigidity of wood and confound expectations of its use.


Since prehistoric times, humankind has used wood to make things they need. Today, wooden objects of utility continue to dominate the landscape when we think of it: tables and chairs, bowls and spoons, building frames, pencils, and paper. Wood is strong, solid, natural; it is also abundant and versatile. But in spite of its utility, or perhaps because of it, artists have also long favored it to make objects with uses that lie beyond the purely physical. The Shallow Act of Seeing considers the work of three artists who make objects that reward the process of looking rather than simply seeing.


Inspired by his time as a set builder, Dan Gunn uses lacquered plywood to create works that appear to be draped fabric. He makes things that are both images and objects, which from a distance fool the viewer into thinking they are soft and flexible fabric.

December 13, 2020