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Santa Monica

Robert Bourdon is a young sculptor trying to face-lift old ideas. He takes commonplace shapes that have existing everyday associations--the smooth stones you skipped as a kid, jacks from jack ‘n’ ball games--and translates them into unexpected materials and huge scale. Oldenburg originated this idea wrapped in lighthearted humor; Bourdon’s work all but oozes with a youthful, idealistic lyricism that sometimes comes off and sometimes doesn’t.

One piece whose very long title refers to the absence of a loved one joins two large ovals that look like stones smoothed by time but are actually crafted of finely polished wood. Mounted on the wall and tilted to barely touch, the shapes have a vaguely nostalgic ring. “Kuruma” is the handsomest piece, perhaps because it is least specific. It looks like a giant culinary syringe, but it is some 20 or so feet long and rests on the gallery floor with its long pointed shaft of sensuous basswood. Another work in metal looks like a child’s gargantuan pronged playing jack. Tooled of faceted metal it mingles militaristic allusions with a sense of play.

Small collages by Paddy Reynolds are also shown. Using what look like magazine cut-outs embellished by hand-applied color, Reynolds builds surreal scenes where random images collide in tiled Renaissance-like corridors, under stairways, or other mysterious, oddly conjoined settings. In “Mouthpiece,” Reynolds collages a plumbing pipe to the mouth of a female profile whose head takes up an entire halled space. Some of the works are repetitive and uninspired, but in “One Way” and “Le Hague,” Reynolds really does paint with print to harness palpable psychic tension. (Shoshona Wayne Gallery, 1454 5th St., to Jan. 3.)


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