A R T   L E T T E R

The Timely Magazine of Art

#33 <previous/ next> Artletter index July 15, 1996

Paul Kittelson at Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery	7/31

Pleasantly poppy, the show is more fun and more interesting than
Borden/Butler's normal parade of monochromism. Kittelson's outsize candy
sculptures maintain an elegant balance between scale models of "real
stuff" and autonomous forms in their own right. The only stumble is the
series of five lollipops with breasts, which disappoint with their
sophomoric literalism. Far superior are the pastel lumps on the lawn,
looking equally like giant dinner mints and hardened sacks of concrete.
-Mark Allen

Hiroshi Sugimoto at the CAM	9/1

Rows of superficially identical photographs become a visual mantra, their
monotony short-circuiting one's expectation of a specific focus or
conclusion. The Buddhas' halos make a pattern like 50's formica against
their dark backgrounds. Sugimoto's works radiate a timeless calm. Buddhas,
seascapes and empty antique movie houses are each the vehicle for an
attempt at transcendence. The seascapes are the most effective: attention
is focused on utterly empty, but somehow alive and interesting, oceans. The
weather is calm all over the world. There are no big waves. These are
works an urban cynic feels stupid to love, presented with such restrained
good taste it makes one want to scream.-B.D. 

Troy Woods at Robert McClain and Co.	8/10

Dull and trite, but well done. Relying on the obvious elemental contrast
between wood and steel, hard and soft, organic and metallic, Woods 
restates the old Frankenstein idea with technical panache. The viewer
empathizes with the wooden shapes,  helpless  biomorphs which are
supported, displayed and invaded by cold steel instruments. RW, RS, RI, and
RL, achieve a simple balance between the two elements.  The brackets
stand stiffly out from the wall, defying gravity; the wooden forms sag in
flaccid capitulation. HB, Stereometric, Lunar, and Vantage  are slightly
overcomplex; the viewer is distracted by clever but irrelevant machinery.
Still, Use  and Content  refer to recognizable inanimate objects, blunting
the clear flesh/steel opposition. The steel racks have a handmade quality;
the wooden elements are more sucessful at being seamless. -B.D.

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Mario Perez at Brent Gallery	9/28

Not the same show as last year. Three new paintings and some small
drawings. Perez has gone official, showing at the drawing center in N.Y. and
producing big polished paintings. Untitled is the best, a field of frankly
decorative streaks of blue-gray paint contain a multicolor starburst with
the graphic zip of a logotype.-B.D. 

Janet Smartt at Brasil Cafe	8/12

Low intensity, aimless abstractions. Smartt deserves credit for avoiding
horrendous cliches of brushwork and the decorative color schemes which
would place her works squarely in the tasteful office furniture category,
but achieves little else. The small scale of the paintings constrains and
diminishes the gloppy paint gestures; these works were painted with the
wrist, not with the whole body, like small scale reproductions of ab-ex
work. They have the look of passion without the substance. If it is any
consolation, many less interesting abstractions hang in museums.-B.D.