Henning Bohl’s installation, View from Bidston Hill, is an exploration of the components that make up an artwork’s composition. Referencing sculpture, painting, and collage, the gallery is populated with a blend of art and common objects related by a circle motif. Bohl mined local lumber stores, bicycle shops, and marine outfitters for supplies, even incorporating disposable beverage containers in his work.
An exercise in composition, Bohl places several white bicycle helmets supported by large foam soda cups in the center of the gallery on a stage-like structure. Using conventional canvas stretcher bars and containers as a set for the graphic interplay of objects, Bohl further reorganizes the gallery as a theatrical space where elements of one shape play off those of another.
One stretcher frame piece features several rectangular and curved panels of heavily grained wood connected by marine-grade bungee cord. These elastic ropes act as formal devices that move one’s eye across the exterior of the work. The surface of a similar adjacent piece-a blank white gessoed canvas with a black and yellow bicycle helmet attached to it with a different set of marine-grade cord-is activated through a similar network of chinstraps and cables. In both works, holes have been cut into the substrate material, and in addition to their functional role-allowing for the cords to snake in and out-the openings become an integral part of the overall design.
Precut holes form the composition and support for the pegboard drawings that appear opposite the helmet and corded works. Bohl’s drawings contain many of the formal strategies at play in the larger works in the show. The pegboard frame contains the title from the cover of a book he found in Berlin years ago, augmented by an ampersand drawn on it with marker in various iterations from piece to piece. While the pegboard punchouts serve as a more consistent gridded support for these works on paper, they relate formally as well to the circle motif repeated throughout the displayed work.
In this exhibition of interrelated parts, Bohl presents an alternative model of image making that plays off of Modern painting strategies, where the subject of the artwork is not painted but rather consists of the objects itself, presented within a pictorial space. Moreover bungee cords and chinstraps not only make literal connections inside the work but also allude to the compositional connections the artist employs to link the entire installation together.