Weiss exhibit showcases rare works


Hark Kanwal

The David Weiss exhibit is at the Swiss Institute in SoHo.

By Carter Glace, Contributing Writer

The Swiss Institute presents a strange and surreal gallery of David Weiss’ works that transport students to another country after only a short walk from Bobst Library. The massive warehouse setting and white walls allow his works to pop with their sharp colors and minimalist designs.

Some of the best pieces are placed front and center. Most noticeable is a wavy blue background brought to life with vibrant streaks of color coming toward the viewer. Directly behind it is a scenic telling of a busy day at the beach, which is created with black and white streaks on a yellow background. The first portion of the gallery house is filled with similar
works — pieces including city streets, light pollution and surrealist floods, depicted with vivid colors and minimalist designs.

The other half of the gallery has an extraordinary variety of incredible pen sketches. Many of these sketches take the form of comic-like creations, such as anthropomorphic cigarettes hanging around a curb or a comic made up of people who look suspiciously like Disney characters. A detailed sketch of people building a church stood out among the rest of the drawings.

Many of these works utilize text, which are in Weiss’ native Swiss German, so it is advisable to grab a packet with translations upon entering. Among these works is a collection of notebook pages with Weiss’ writing.

His most impressive pen work is a series of small sketch pages across a wall.  Each page contains six drawings, with each one building off the last. The slow progress from sketch to sketch is an extraordinary display of vision and creativity, making a beautiful spectacle. The meticulous detail in each sketch is incredible, making each page a work of art on its own merits.

In a city filled with diverse art galleries, David Weiss’ collection is one of the most diverse, most simple and most utterly beautiful. The Swiss Institute is located on 18 Wooster St. and closes on Feb. 22.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 17 print edition. Email Carter Glace at [email protected].