Ronald J. Onorato

  • “Corners”

    The artists included in the “Corners” exhibition come to the theme from such widely disparate starting points that any explicit overview of the issue is made almost impossible. Although all the works in the show (with the exception of one or two) have at least some vague connection to either an inside or outside corner, only two or three of the artists extend our ability to comprehend the concept of “corner” fully.

    Several objects do focus our attention toward the intersection of two wall planes. Richard Artschwager’s Corner 11, 1964–1979, is a marvelous, quirky object that might as well be a

  • Fritz Buehner

    An exhibition long overdue in Boston, Six Sculptors reflected various modes of sculpture-making, running the gamut of current idioms from free-standing objects and wall reliefs to architectonic constructions and ephemeral installations.

    Three of the artists are object-makers. FRITZ BUEHNER’s Nonce, a tightly coiled wooden helix, alternately revealed and concealed the logic of its making. One of a recent series, Nonce sat dense and solid when approached from either of its flat, layered sides. Walking its baseless perimeter, however, the viewer sees the webwork solid open up. On either flank, the

  • John Avery Newman

    An exhibition long overdue in Boston, Six Sculptors reflected various modes of sculpture-making, running the gamut of current idioms from free-standing objects and wall reliefs to architectonic constructions and ephemeral installations.

    The other reliefs in the show, by JOHN AVERY NEWMAN, are flat painted wood constructions. These hedge on expected definitions of plane, projection, continuity and separation, line and volume. Here too, a graphic sense captures many of these dichotomies. Newman's structures are armatures for his drawing in line, color and shadow. The stark white verticals of

  • Ed Rothfarb

    An exhibition long overdue in Boston, Six Sculptors reflected various modes of sculpture-making, running the gamut of current idioms from free-standing objects and wall reliefs to architectonic constructions and ephemeral installations.

    By far the two most impressive efforts in the exhibition were created by artists who constructed their own spaces. ED ROTHFARB’s In leiunio et Fletu is a freestanding unit in one corner of the largest gallery built of gray plasterboard panels over a wooden frame. Within a primarily architectural idiom, Rothfarb’s piece addresses his participatory audience

  • Alan Motch

    An exhibition long overdue in Boston, Six Sculptors reflected various modes of sculpture-making, running the gamut of current idioms from free-standing objects and wall reliefs to architectonic constructions and ephemeral installations.

    The small skeletal relief platforms of ALAN MOTCH make all too obvious references to industrial structures and engineered frames. These are not concerned with the same type of brute force required to build actual trestles or wharves; in fact, they almost negate load-bearing gravity. Precious in scale, they sit lightly on otherwise blank whitewalls. But because

  • “Six Sculptors”

    An exhibition long overdue in Boston, Six Sculptors reflected various modes of sculpture-making, running the gamut of current idioms from free-standing objects and wall reliefs to architectonic constructions and ephemeral installations.

    —Ronald J. Onorato

  • Lee Newton

    An exhibition long overdue in Boston, Six Sculptors reflected various modes of sculpture-making, running the gamut of current idioms from free-standing objects and wall reliefs to architectonic constructions and ephemeral installations.

    In a totally different realm of sculptural conception, LEE NEWTON defines her own arena by laying out a horizontal and a vertical working space. As with her earlier works one feels compelled to read this arrangement for its linear narrative content since her multipartite ensembles have a strong theatrical ambience—stage, backdrop, props, etc. This particular

  • Jeffrey Schiff

    An exhibition long overdue in Boston, Six Sculptors reflected various modes of sculpture-making, running the gamut of current idioms from free-standing objects and wall reliefs to architectonic constructions and ephemeral installations.

    The most visually exciting piece in the exhibition was that of JEFFREY SCHIFF. Like Rothfarb, Schiff created his own space but with more ephemeral means—he made no objects, he built no structures. In one sense, the space Schiff used was given as he chose to rework part of the remodeled interior of the institute’s 19th-century building. His chosen area, the main

  • Robert Rohm

    Objects, things—Robert Rohm has equated them with sculpture-making for much of his career. In his most recent show, finely crafted and carpentered ensembles of wood, conduit, rope and lead echo a vocabulary of forms and materials refined over the past decade. Rohm considers his objects as primary things—not in the sense of minimal reductions but as hermetic, solid units, entities in themselves.

    Every move made—binding with rope, bolting and fastening, choosing heavy, massive materials and using large-scale volumes and voids—lends these works an assertiveness that dominates any other approach we

  • Richard Fleischner

    Adjacent to the University of Massachusetts football stadium in Amherst stands an 8-foot-tall chain-link fence encompassing an area some 60 feet square. Containing neither the tennis courts nor the electrical transformers we might expect within such industrial fencing, the metallic webwork is, instead, the perimeter of Richard Fleischner’s newest sited work, Chain Link Maze.

    Surely the experience of walking through a convoluted corridor flanked by a mesh fence doesn’t sound like anybody’s idea of a pleasurable or engaging experience. Over the past few years, however, several artists—Bruce Nauman

  • Illusive Spaces: The Art of Mary Miss

    IN A SHORT TEXT, “Of Exactitude in Science,” Jorge Luis Borges recounts the tale of an Empire where

    . . . the craft of Cartography attained such Perfection that the Map of a Single province covered the space of an entire City, and the Map of the Empire itself an entire Province. In the course of Time, these extensive maps were found somehow wanting, and so the College of Cartographers evolved a Map of the Empire that was of the same Scale as the Empire and that coincided with it point for point.1

    For more than a decade Mary Miss has conceived and constructed a variety of singular works that in

  • Ed Mayer

    Ed Mayer makes precise structures. No, that’s not quite right—Mayer’s structures are precise, piles of wooden laths, criss-crossed log-cabin fashion. In the six major works exhibited recently along with several drawings and prints, it became apparent that the artist does not so much impart mathematical clarity to his materials as draw that accuracy from their physical limits.

    In a work like Glide, 1978, we are acutely aware of the delicacy of Mayer’s method, of fine boundaries traced between the friction of the nubby wood surface, the weight of the cross strips and the pitch of each upright.

  • Italo Scanga

    Italo Scanga. The name itself conjures up the Mediterranean peninsula. Not the cool, radical chic of the Milanese north, but the starker realities rooted in the age-worn landscape of the Calabrian Sila Massif. But Scanga’s works are anything but worn and barren. They reflect his career during the 1970s, and simultaneously provide this writer with a critical dilemma—intense reaction coupled with a disinclination to put it into words, resisting the necessarily deadening effect that any explanation engenders. To deal with such a powerful attraction is, however, to come close to what Scanga’s work

  • Robert Cumming

    The imagery of Robert Cumming’s photographs is wit, but his true subject matter is perception; Cumming has defined a special space, within which he creates his imagery. It is the area between the extant world and our perceptions of it, between being and seeing that most interests this young California artist.

    By building objects, creating situations or constructing illusions and then taking photographs of the results, he exerts total control over the world he presents to his audience. Cumming depends on habitual clues, typical references and almost universal sets of standards for photographic

  • Richard Calabro

    In a recent installation at the Tyler School of Art on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Richard Calabro created a work reflecting many ideas and concerns that have occupied him over the better part of the past decade. Con le belle maniere is performance, sculpture and installation, but extends the boundaries of each even though it was specifically planned for a large, tripartite display case in one of the campus buildings.

    The piece juxtaposes simple elements in new contexts. Glasswax is used to compromise the transparency of the windows on both sides of the cases. Light still enters the cases and

  • John Willenbecher

    John Willenbecher’s recent exhibition at the University of Massachusetts marked a clear turning point in his career, away from familiar elements toward newer, more distilled themes. As one of the earliest artists to adopt the fertile motif of the labyrinth in the late 1960s, Willenbecher developed it fully through formal, metaphorical and environmental manifestations during the first half of this decade. The Amherst show mapped out different paths and demonstrated that the artist had already begun to explore them by 1975.

    In a large show at the Everson Museum a few years ago, this development

  • Alan Sonfist

    In a recent installation Alan Sonfist gathered some 20 pieces, all employing found organic objects or natural processes in their conception. This collection, or Autobiography, as the artist calls it, shows Sonfist working in and around the two worlds of nature and art. This is a consistent aspect of Sonfist’s work; inconsequential yet familiar bits of nature intentionally presented in an artful context.

    Some of the works in the Boston show literally do just that—his Gene Enclosures documents a sector of a forest for posterity with a grid pattern of photographs as well as a display, like so many

  • Richard Fleischner

    Richard Fleischner’s most recent work, in Providence, R.I., is impressive in its material presence alone—several tons of pink and gray granite composed to indicate the schematic basis of what might be considered a prototypical house. Although a crane was necessary to move the granite units to his chosen site, a small island in a wooded park setting, Fleischner as always works delicately and carefully with the natural surface. Here, the subtle yet definitive effort of the finished project is inseparable from the beauty of its context.

    The island is only reachable via a short, arching bridge, which

  • Dennis Oppenheim and Marjorie Keller

    In his newest piece, I Shot the Sheriff, Dennis Oppenheim manipulates a limited number of components—a spotlight, a shotgun, a large, transparent piece of plastic cut into a star-shaped sheriff’s badge, the gallery itself and a continuously played background tape of the refrain from the pop song “I Shot the Sheriff.” As in so many of Oppenheim’s most successful works, he uses combinations of familiar and novel elements, common objects in unusual contexts, juxtapositions frivolous yet complexly metaphoric. Oppenheim focuses on several issues, some of which have concerned him before, by relating,