Jason Meadows’ new work at Marc Foxx Gallery gamely attempts to engage pressing social and political situations today. Three large recent sculptures and a painted wall relief try different tactics with uneven results.
Least successful is “Justice League,” which collides red and blue folded fans alluding to the flying capes of cartoon superheroes. They stand atop a precariously tilting pedestal of the sort on which a politician’s conventional statue might be erected. The adaptation of grandiose red-state, blue-state, right-left political conflict is too schematic to be effective, while an implied narrative of volatile collapse seems overly melodramatic.
Far more engaging is “The Day After,” a sleek yet vaguely ominous pair of opposing, gun-metal gray cylinders fitted into a mechanistic structure and adorned with shrieking strips of yellow and purple caution-tape. As elegant and poised as a space-defining assembly of geometric forms by Sir Anthony Caro, it simultaneously reads as a repository for dangerous if unspecified material — say, nuclear waste. The formal rigor of Meadows’ abstract sculpture seems to slowly dissolve like a sugar cube in water, as if it were a mysterious ancient artifact of some lost civilization — namely, ours — newly found and spiffed up for museum display.
In between these extremes is the eccentric “Sea of Love,” a big, boxy, human-size chamber of perforated aluminum in which a pair of jagged metal forms, each a kind of origami jet, hangs in space. Without being descriptive, this militaristic composition merges with a gentle allusion to Damien Hirst’s shark inside a formaldehyde tank.
The perforations in the chamber’s painted structure visually recall the Benday printer’s dots made famous by Roy Lichtenstein. Their juxtaposition with the zooming “paper airplanes” inside deftly ties Meadows’ sculpture to the Pop artist’s pungent wartime comic books. The inventive result is marvelously strange.
Marc Foxx, 6150 Wilshire Blvd., (323) 857 5571, through SaturdayJan. 19. Closed Sun. and Mon. www.marcfoxx.com