Bruce Rod’s big, brightly colored wood sculptures look like something you might encounter on a playground at Santa’s Village. Nonsensical combinations of objects and shapes, these playful follies seem guilelessly awkward yet devious at the same time. Funnels, poles, ladders and chairs grow out of one another with no apparent rhyme or reason; Rod’s work is so fastidiously crafted, however, that it’s clearly been plotted out by an exacting, if kooky mind.
In “Increment on Hold,” a cluster of gray poles is balanced on a pedestal; at the base of the pedestal legs are human hands carved in wood. Rod plays around with the limits of what a pedestal can be in a number of works. His Rube Goldberg objects often merge with the pedestals they rest on, and in fact are occasionally completely upstaged by the weirdly elaborate pedestals beneath them. A pair of works are loosely structured after the shape of a simple chair, but strips of wood going this way and that eliminate the possibility of sitting down. In “Winter Drift,” a sort of ferris-wheel shape is fashioned out of spiky, pointed twigs. Audacious combinations that confound expectations are the central idea behind these big, nasty toys that keep the Dada fires burning. (Simard/Halm, 8006 Melrose, to May 10.)