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Review: Kristian Burford smartly envisions a nightmare situation

You know the nightmare where you show up naked at the office? Kristian Burford has captured something of that horrifying feeling in his latest installation at Nye + Brown.

It consists of two glass-enclosed, generic office cubicles, each populated by a matte gray sculpture of a nude, bald woman. The woman in the first cubicle pokes her head up to look at the second figure with a somewhat startled expression. More relaxed, the other woman occupies an equally nightmarish reality.

The interior of the glass in both structures is covered with a mirrored coating that creates an infinite, internal reflection. The cubicles (and the women), stretch on and on in endless, numbing repetition.

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Walking around these quasi-Minimalist cubes, one feels a like a voyeur, a sensation Burford has exploited in previous, more ornate installations in which the viewer’s point of view was more tightly controlled.

Here, he has both opened things up and stripped them down, turning tableaux into sculptural objects. However, the sensation of being on the outside looking in contributes to the dismay, as if the women are trapped in some tomb-like, alternate reality.

The works evoke the darker side of historical responses to industrialization — Hans Bellmer’s creepy doll parts come to mind — but they also suggest the infinite echo chamber of digital realms. At its far edge, the mirrored glass illusion begins to bend and distort, as if the entire scene could simply be whisked away.

Nye + Brown, 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., (310) 559-5215, through Nov. 2. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.nyeplusbrown.com

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