Monday, April 20, 2015

Sculpture, Having a Chelsea Moment

James Siena, Just Read the Instructions. 2013, cherry wood. @ 48 x 69 x 60". Photo: Susan Yung

Chelsea/Meatpacking is abuzz with the impending opening of the new Whitney this week, and some warmer weather. A few shows of note:

James Siena, Pace Gallery
Siena is known for his paintings and drawings, graphic OCD works that seem to diagram the imperfect, if ultimately effective logic systems that humans can create. In this group of sculptures, his  exploratory, inquisitive thought process is somewhat revealed. A series of maquettes is built around grape stems. Siena takes this natural, functional structure and extrudes it with toothpicks, building a kind of exoskeleton. He has scaled up a few into wood and bronze, creating satisfying and delightful lattices. Another series explores the cube and its varying multiples; the works approach architectural explorations. Through April 25.

Charles Ray, Matthew Marks
In stark contrast to the organic lightness of Siena's show is that of Charles Ray, with two new sculptures. Baled Truck appears to be a densely crushed truck, such as one might see at a junkyard—a hunky rectangle of metal. In reality, Ray machine carved the sculpture from a solid block of stainless steel; the work weighs 13 tons. The second work, Girl on Pony, is a relief panel carved of aluminum, resembling the manner of a coin. Closed.

Robert Irwin, Blue Lou (detail). 2014—15. light + shadow + reflection + color. Photo: Phillipp Scholz Ritterman.

Janine Antoni, Luhring Augustine
Antoni has been taking inspiration from, and collaborating with, choreographers in recent seasons. These new works, of polyurethane resin, take human ribcages and bones and morphs them into delicate, eerie pieces, some with reassigned functions—rib baskets, intertwined spines, some physical manifestations of emotional connections. Through April 25.

Robert Irwin, Pace Gallery
Irwin has long used light as a medium, creating otherworldly atmospheres with the help of scrim fabric. His new series employs fluorescent tubes, combining them in rhythmic pattern and color juxtaposition. The media he gives tells it all: light + shadow + reflection + color. Intensely hued sections take on individual characters, helped in part by the often witty names, such as Blue Lou. Through May 9.

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