Critics’ Picks

William Daniels, Delacroix, 2006, oil on board, 13 3/4 x 9 7/8".

William Daniels, Delacroix, 2006, oil on board, 13 3/4 x 9 7/8".

New York

“Counterfacture”

Luhring Augustine | Chelsea
531 West 24th Street
January 12–February 10, 2007

This smart, subtle group show brings together four emerging British artists, each of whom explores the expanded field of sculpture through different media in an attempt to capture the magic in our modest surroundings. Facing the viewer in the main room is Rupert Norfolk’s Wall no.2, 2006. Close scrutiny reveals that the 125 apparently normal limestone rocks that constitute the piece have been carefully altered, each stone carved to make it appear perfectly symmetrical, and therefore strangely artificial. On two pedestals next to Norfolk’s piece sit the works of Alex Pollard, who assembles delicate sculptures from cast plaster or bronze objects, each of which is related to a markmaking instrument, such as a ruler, eraser, or pencil. The gentle, zoomorphic silhouettes recall both Dada assemblages and precarious skeletons in a natural history museum: They possess a humorous character that makes them both clumsy and endearing. The two-dimensional works in the show also obliquely question the nature of sculpture, evoking plastic volumes and illusory effects. David Musgrave’s series of “Television Drawings” from 2006 are small graphite renderings of quotidian objects realized by tracing horizontal pencil lines, interrupted to disclose the objects’ outline. William Daniels’s small, luminous oils depict human faces inspired by historical paintings. The artist begins by building paper sculptures modeled after the original pictures, then paints his re-creations on small boards, meticulously reproducing his sculptures’ tiny creases and folds. Like his colleagues, Daniels defies traditional limits, opening up a space of uncertainty between reality and representation.