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La Cienega Area

Mutating machines coming to life in Kenneth Capps sculptures treat technology as a threatening, but occasionally playful, presence. Forms often resemble the high-tech devices taken for granted in the man-made environment. Dark steel forms in the “Phase” series suggest public address speakers torquing on the wall and sprouting disturbing longhorn-antennae that whip around in space like waving tentacles. “Four Darts” is a unit of four arching protractor-point drills set to bore into the wall from a tightly wound, spring-loaded center.

Some pieces take a macabre, delight in turning edges into twirling saw blades or hollow pipes into hissing gas vents; less rambunctious sculptures turn inward for a thoughtful investigation of the form itself. The free-standing “Diver F” follows a round breathing tube as it feels its way blindly around a steel contorted speaker box in search of an opening at the bottom. “Purge - Square Peg, Round Hole,” a cut off, triangular hollow tube, folds open in unexpected places to effectively merge the inside and the outside of the sculpture.

A series of gently flared steel half circles with neatly bisected hubs in the back gallery are the most overtly formal but also the most sensuous of all the Capps sculpture. In these wall mounted fanning shapes the burnished dark metal becomes a lustrous, skin covered mound of swelling metallic muscle. The skin gives the central, mesh covered openings and fluted shaft-like pillars a strange, architecturally based sexuality that is formally cool yet warmed by organic innuendo.(Marc Richards Gallery, 8747 Melrose Ave., to Oct. 15.)


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