January 7 – February 22, 2023
Roll Up Project is pleased to present sculptures by Dennis Luedeman. Luedeman’s metalworking skills have been honed through years of experimentation in bronze, copper, steel, and bronze. In addition to making sculpture, he works with local architects to produce custom architectural elements such as railings, gates, and room dividers.
Luedeman has always been interested in geometric shapes, and he often combines rectangular slabs, blocks, or cubes with more organic shapes. The resulting pieces highlight the presence of the artist’s hand. For example, dents and crumples in works such as Sail 1 (2006) and Sway 1 (2010) transform stainless steel sheets into dynamic and dimensional forms that seem to defy gravity. Luedeman uses traditional tools like mallets and high-powered ones like a hydraulic press fitted with custom-made tips. Each manipulation yields an indelible mark on the surface of the metal, which Luedeman builds upon until the material takes on an almost plastic nature, bending and torqueing with ease. For example, the curling tendril in Hot Work 9 (2022) shifts from a silky, flat ribbon to a pressed conical stem before landing on a perfect pyramid. A stainless steel ball balances impossibly on the ribbon, as if time has stopped its motion.
Luedeman’s sculptures also celebrate the different qualities of metals. He uses copper, bronze, stainless steel, and others intentionally to highlight their unique colors and textures. Polished, brushed, patinated, and satin finishes draw attention to different areas of the sculptures, and create areas of tension or contrast within them. For example, the trio of bronze columns in the windows on Third Street shift seamlessly from bright, solid blocks to darkly patinated branch-like forms.
Sculptures like Hot Work 4 (2022) bring to mind Luedeman’s early training in jewelry making. The work looks like a scaled-up functional object, maybe a spinning top or an avant-garde brooch. Balancing on the tip of a spear point and one of the convex steel discs, it invites the viewer to come closer and think deeply about the precision, balance, and fine detail of an unidentified and unidentifiable object.
Viewed together, Luedeman’s sculptures reflect on our contemporary world, and the many ways opposing elements create balance. Here, seamless technological perfection coexists with hand-formed plasticity, sleek with natural, glossy with matte, and light with dark. As we enter 2023, perhaps Luedeman’s work will encourage us all to find similar moments of harmony.
About the Artist
Dennis Luedeman is a sculptor based in Oakland, CA. He earned a BFA at the University of Washington and an MFA at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Since 1983, he has lived and worked in the Bay Area, collaborating with artists and architects in his commercial metalworking studio. His artwork has been exhibited at Braunstein/Quay Gallery in San Francisco, and his work is in the public art collection of the city of Emeryville.
Learn more about Dennis Luedeman at dennisluedeman.com.