Critics’ Picks

Michael DeLucia, Atom, 2012, plywood, safety enamel, 96 x 96 x 3/4".

Michael DeLucia, Atom, 2012, plywood, safety enamel, 96 x 96 x 3/4".


Michael DeLucia

Galerie Nathalie Obadia | Rue du Cloître St. Merri
3, rue du Cloître St. Merri
October 27–December 28, 2012

Michael DeLucia’s latest wall-mounted and freestanding sculptures, collectively titled “Projections,” combine DIY aesthetics (planks of plywood fastened with visible screws) with a high-tech—and, to a certain extent, hands-off—process. Employing a computer-controlled wood router, DeLucia engraves intricate patterns of gouges, which, when painted, create illusions of depth and dimension on the plywood’s raw surface. The results suggest CAD outputs made from construction-site scraps. A hybrid of minimalist sculpture and new media, DeLucia’s work does not fit neatly in either genre.

Though his materials (plywood and a limited palette of industrial paint) can hardly still be considered “non-art,” DeLucia’s geometric forms recall Donald Judd, Robert Morris, John McCracken, and others who paved the way for an expanded definition of art and artmaking practices. A succession of hanging black-painted woodcuts (all works 2012), for example, is the result of five different router programs designed to render a sphere on a flat surface. The wide variation of the final artworks flaunts the precision (and seemingly endless possibilities) of computer-generated imagery as well as the quirky irregularities of the humble support material. In certain instances the router’s prescribed cuts do not jive with the natural wood grain, causing unpredictable chips and fissures.

In another wall-mounted work, Green Screen, an illusion of depth is achieved through a concentration of green-painted grooves around the edges of the rectangular construction, which gradually diffuses towards the center—like a pixelated and splintery Homage to the Square. In the spot where Josef Albers would have nested his smallest square, a roughly excised rectangle reveals the white of gallery wall. Thus the illusion of three-dimensionality simultaneously climaxes and shatters in a messy, physical reality.