Review: Erin Besler explores the spaces between concept and reality

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Erin Besler’s thought-provoking installation in the small, airy gallery of the MAK Center’s Mackey Garage Top consists of three tiny white “rooms.”

Turning the narrow space into something of a maze, the structures have taut, curved white walls inside and closely spaced metal studs without. Too small and cramped to be functional, they are like droplets of space.

At first glance, the overall effect is something like a budget do-it-yourself Richard Serra, in which curves unfold into unexpected volumes.


However, the walls of the rooms are often awkwardly joined or overlapping; their curvature is imperfect and incomplete. These discontinuities are exacerbated by the addition of traditional molding at top and bottom. At the intersections, the molding often doubles up on itself, creating awkward protrusions and creases.

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It’s as if the trim has slavishly followed the contours of the wall, even when those walls are abruptly truncated or misaligned.

These details give the work a digital feel; the redundant moldings are like leftover points on some computer model that someone forgot to clean up. With this small, absurd gesture, Besler illustrates the gap between the expressive, effortless shapes one can envision on the computer and the challenges of translating those shapes into chunky metal and drywall.

Like an eternal rough draft, her installation occupies a generative limbo.

MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Mackey Garage Top, 1137 S. Cochran Ave., (323) 651-1510, through Oct. 29. Closed Sundays and Mondays.