In JJ Peet’s beguiling L.A. debut at Redling Fine Art, the familiar tropes of found object assemblage sculpture — scrap wood and bricks, rags and plastic shopping bags — come to life through a sheer infusion of raw creative energy.
In both the sculptures and the film that accompanies them, a genuine visual curiosity, paired with a judiciously democratic embrace of materials, result in works of unusual fervor and formal acuity.
Upon entering the darkened front gallery at Redling, one encounters a trio of sculptures suspended from the ceiling by long, rectangular aluminum tubes. (There is a fourth sculpture in the back room.) They range from 5 to 7 feet in length, reaching from the ceiling nearly to the floor, but with so slender and spare a framework that each has an air of transparency.
Even at close range, it is difficult to keep the eye fixed on any one detail — slim steel rods, draped strips of torn rag, black plastic bags, hand-molded coils of raw porcelain, bits of wood, a petrified lime — or to make sense of what the details add up to.
Peet, who is based in New York, calls the sculptures “Floating Heads,” though the only obvious indication of their figurative nature is an elliptical assertion in the press release: “There is always a brain and many times eyes. There are tensions, personalities, and political positions.”
Yet there is something compelling about these wayward creations: their odd, self-inscribed elegance, their somehow coherent ambiguity. It is an impression that comes full circle in the show’s other major element: a 20-minute video projection titled “Psych_UP Animation” that serves as an archive of every stop-motion image Peet has ever created, dating back to 2006, strung together in a lush, hallucinatory stream.
Objects of every sort, some of which appear in the sculptures as well, flash across the screen in fevered succession, so quick and close that it can be difficult to make sense of what one is seeing. As with the sculptures, any attempt to fix on discrete details is futile, and largely beside the point.
Taken on its own terms, as a giddy collection of quick, idiosyncratic visions, driven by a compulsion, one gathers, simply to understand how things really look, it is a mesmerizing and wonderfully invigorating 20 minutes of exploration.
Redling Fine Art, 6757 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, (323) 230-7415, through February 23. Closed Sunday and Monday. redlingfineart.com