Critics’ Picks

Carol Bove, I, quartz pyx, who fling muck beds., 2015, concrete and brass, 83 1/4 x 23 5/8 x 24 7/8".

Carol Bove, I, quartz pyx, who fling muck beds., 2015, concrete and brass, 83 1/4 x 23 5/8 x 24 7/8".


Carol Bove

David Zwirner | London
24 Grafton Street
April 13–May 30, 2015

Carol Bove’s “The Plastic Unit” activates a space of tension between sculptures, generating a to-and-fro pull of attraction and repulsion between works that breeds analogies and contradictions, continuities and discontinuities. The artist mobilizes a range of procedures and materials through an array of works: intricately arranged assemblages, compositions of fused steel and petrified wood, reliefs of delicately arranged peacock feathers and shells, and sculptures made of zinc-plated steel as well as concrete and brass. In Circles, 2015, a weather-beaten block of redwood is punctured by white stainless-steel tubes, bringing an ancient organic material into communion with the ur material of modernism. While an unmistakable pathos marks Bove’s use of petrified wood in Lingam, 2014, there is indestructible newness to her use of steel. Interpretation drifts between the psychedelic and hallucinatory to the pensive and melancholic.

Bove bends and crushes steel as if it were Plasticine. In Self Talk, 2015, the metal is softened as if it were malleable; the surface is covered with lurid urethane paint, which negates its harsh materiality. The work might be interpreted as glyphs, where signifier is abstracted from syntax. On the third floor of the gallery, Bove has installed an expansive work, Untitled, 2015, of clipped peacock feathers, which are affixed to canvas. The surface wavers along an iridescent spectrum, vivid greens to muddy browns creating a delirious picture: Drawing one into a whirlpool, each eye of the thousands of feathers catches one’s own in the currents of a spiral. When the eye is drawn in by this picture, thought merges with its material.