Critics’ Picks

Ann Greene Kelly, Untitled, 2019, mattress, graphite, colored pencil, plaster, wood, 82 x 69 x 32".

Ann Greene Kelly, Untitled, 2019, mattress, graphite, colored pencil, plaster, wood, 82 x 69 x 32".

Los Angeles

Ann Greene Kelly

Michael Benevento
3712 Beverly Boulevard
February 10–March 30, 2019

Ann Greene Kelly toys with the tradition of the ready-made by melding everyday objects with plaster, stone, and other traditional sculptural materials, lending the quotidian an intimate and idiosyncratic edge. In her first solo exhibition at Michael Benevento, “For a Mended Tread,” the artist focuses her work on mattresses and tires, two man-made items designed to facilitate two of our most important activities—sleep and transportation. 

In Untitled (all works 2019), two deep, black tire grooves fashioned from molded plaster and graphite are embedded in a stained pink mattress, which, slumped heavily against the wall, is clearly a play on the monoliths of Minimalist art; the grooves are either references to Robert Rauschenberg’s 1953 Automobile Tire Print or a wink at the wear and tear bodies exert on beds. In the next room, a stack of five bisected tires opens this private world up another crack. The interiors of the rubber rings are lined with white plaster and carved to mimic the inverse texture of the treads; just a degree out of context, and enhanced with colored pencil, the pattern feels delicate and is evocative of bathroom tiles. Viewed from this perspective, the scale of the whole sculpture shifts toward something like an apartment complex—an association encouraged by the small window-like cutouts Kelly made in the tires.

Each of these sculptures seems to be guided by a logic lodged within the object. This is especially evident in the stunning Untitled, a small circular mattress with a gleaming drain sunk into its center. Layering the formal and the personal, Kelly not only imbues each object on view with imaginative utilitarian functionality, but also suggests whole worlds of other goods that might revolve around them.