Foon Sham’s latest exhibition at Project 4 invites viewers to contemplate both his materials and the way his works come together. Abandon the formal qualities of the cones and vessels, and examine how they are constructed—-in terms of parts and process. Sawing sections of wood yields sawdust. Sham exhibits both, erecting a boundary of blocks that separates visitors from the sawdust on the floor.
But visitors can connect with his sawdust in the balcony: They can reach into three sculptures—-Vessel of Cedar, Vessel of Hickory, and Vessel of Walnut—-and sprinkle sawdust from each onto the work Aim High below. A statement on the wall frames the act as a metaphor for life and social order: Chance determines where the sawdust lands, and it might land on top of other dust, or displace it. Unlike a work at arm’s length, where the physical properties can only be observed by sight, the audience can feel and smell the differences between the three woods as they are coaxed into an ephemeral act of collaborative construction. Foon Sham’s exhibition is on view noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays—-Saturdays to June 16 at Project 4, 1353 U Street NW.