Jamison Carter’s new sculptures are like stage sets for splendor, together forming a Potemkin village of triumphal bliss. They happily expose their artifice, blowing a couple of fuses along the way.
At Klowden Mann, three large works anchor an exhibition that also includes 20 drawings and several wall works. In form and composition, the wall works suggest studies for potential free-standing pieces.
The drawings are mostly dense accumulations of parallel lines in rainbows of colored pencil on black paper. Apparently rendered using a hard-edge ruler over raised templates, they harbor ghostly geometric flower-shapes within.
The large sculptures depart from Carter’s prior work by draining rainbow color, usually high-keyed, from the mix. What remains are assembled pieces of natural wood — here, lengthy shims and wedges — now glued together to form sunbursts and aureoles.
They’re like something Bernini designed to visually loft St. Peter’s throne high into ceremonial space, or they recall the spiky manifestation of holy radiance in Manuel de Arellano’s painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Except here the plug gets pulled on the supernatural, with all the gloppy glue and nuts and bolts exposed.
Dark wood stain applied in the center of three interlocking aureole forms gives one floor-sculpture the appearance of a giant bouquet of Van Gogh’s sunflowers — a symbol of happiness now bloated and earthbound. (It’s titled “Sunspot.”) Black polyurethane resin is deployed to make the other two sunbursts more like bomb blasts. A hole is torn in the center of these works, a repudiation of traditions of sculptural mass in favor of vaporized space.
In the strongest work, half of the 9-foot-tall aureole apparently has been blown away, black resin flapping in shards out the back. Carter wields an appropriately double-edged sword — part staunch enthusiast of the spectacular pageant, part sober observer of the very human beings pumping the bellows behind the curtain.
Klowden Mann, 6023 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Through June 30; closed Sundays and Mondays. (310) 280-0226, klowdenmann.com