At the Landing gallery right now, you're likely to catch glimpses of Miro, Giacometti, De Chirico and Noguchi. The name you likely won’t recognize is that of the artist whose solo show invokes all of these figures: Jeremy Anderson.
This retrospective, organized by Brooklyn curator Dan Nadel, serves as a tantalizing introduction to the Bay Area sculptor (1921-82), who wasn't shy about borrowing from others but had a curious-enough stylistic bent of his own to absorb those influences without entirely succumbing to them.
Consider an untitled piece from 1952, at once cage, cabinet, table and shield. Fashioned of lunar gray plaster with a skittish, hand-modeled surface, the structure seems to contain its own shadows. In scale, it corresponds closely to the standing human addressing it and squeezes ample juice out of that physical resonance by coming across as both invitingly playful and vaguely sinister.
Anderson's sensibility aligned with some key Surrealist traits. He favored forms that defamiliarized the familiar, shapes that hint at the bodily or the more generally biological, mythic archetypes and intangible dreams. There is plenty of sexual suggestion in the work, and also humor. The early plaster sculptures are the hushed thrills of the show, but works from the '50s and '60s made of wood, which became his signature material, are also absorbing. Five tabletop redwood sculptures are rough contemporaries of, and kin to, David Smith's metal drawings in space. Their broad horizontal planes punctuated by slender vertical rods conjure both miniature panoramic landscapes and symbolic modes of denotation.
For all the subtlety and psychological mystery of his best work, Anderson could also overstate. ("Good taste is an attribute that no artist should have," he wrote, no doubt wryly.) A handful of pieces here of a Funk/Pop persuasion — the 1970 full-size carved nude on a fake-fur pallet, for instance — don't transcend their time and place.
Anderson earned a good deal of recognition in his lifetime, sharing billing with Louise Bourgeois in a Chicago gallery show in 1952 and headlining career surveys at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Pasadena Art Museum (both 1966), and the
The Landing, 5118 W. Jefferson Blvd., L.A. Through Nov. 18; closed Sundays through Tuesdays. (323) 272-3194, www.thelandinggallery.com
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