Review

Blue McRight, 'Drink Me,' at Samuel Freeman

Stylish assemblages in sculptor Blue McRight's show at Samuel Freeman

A kinder and gentler style of Surrealism takes shape in Blue McRight’s sculptures at Samuel Freeman.

Sexual innuendo plays a big part in the L.A. artist’s stylish assemblages, which are too tightly wound to be unsettling and too literal in their evocation of phallic symbols to leave the imagination with enough space to free-associate its way past clichés. The result is a perfectly pleasant exhibition that is safe, tasteful and toothless.

Titled “Drink Me,” McRight’s exhibition features works made from branches, oars, propellers, canteens, garden hoses, toy birds and an impressive inventory of brass nozzles, sprinkler heads, faucets and their handles.

Most of these components are wrapped, first in gauzy bandages (almost always black or blue) and then with yards of thread. This treatment suggests that McRight’s objects have been mummified, except for the metal nozzles that emerge from the ends of the hoses and protrude from the tips of the branches. Like erections, the nozzles come in various shapes and sizes. Unlike erections, they don’t go away.

All sorts of stories, about drought, death and history, as well as power, longevity and fecundity, can be read into McRight’s variously scaled sculptures.

But their physical impact is diminished by the repetitiveness of their forms. Their emotional resonance is likewise muted by the overuse of hoses and nozzles, which do not measure up to magical talismans or authentic fetishes.

Samuel Freeman, 2639 S. La Cienega Blvd., (310) 425-8601, through Feb. 14. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.samuelfreeman.com

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