Come Together: Surviving Sandy

Tom Doyle

Togher; Clonard

by Sara Christoph

If there was ever a moment of solitude behind the scenes of Surviving Sandy, it was early each morning in the sixth floor gallery. There, on the east side of the building, Tom Doyle’s Togher and Clonard, stood majestic and elegant like twin bows of a ship. Streaks of late morning light, cut into rectangles by the many planes of glass, would melt across the darkly stained wood. The exposed grain shimmered in the light, as if the trees from which these sculptures had been carved still voraciously fed on the energy of the rays.

Tom Doyle, "Togher," 1991.

Tom Doyle, “Togher,” 1991. Oak, 62 x 74 x 86″. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Brian Buckley.

In the context of Industry City—a sprawling, monolithic complex of buildings that dominate Brooklyn harbor and the greater landscape of Sunset Park—this experience was something to be cherished. Doyle’s sculptures, which so visibly come from the earth and bear her scars, stood on the unfinished plywood floor as a reminder of nature’s perennial sacrifice. Of course, the artist is no environmentalist—trees must be cut down in order to make his art—but his work is not about monumentalism or imposed form. Rather, Doyle’s work speaks of balance: of space and scale, of gravity and resistance, of man and nature.