619 West 27th Street
May 16 - June 20
The sculptures in Harry Dodge’s second show at this gallery, “The Cybernetic Fold”—a riotous group of mixed-media assemblages—are occupied with decidedly nonsculptural activities: leaning, bending, resting, and prevaricating. Among materials such as plywood, glass, MDF, and urethane resin, there are also socks, metallic rainbow glitter, and Bondo (an automotive body filler). This promiscuous constituency suggests a sophisticated dogging of pesky binaries: high/low, natural/artificial, human/nonhuman. In This Hole/Honey Bucket and Fuck Me/Who’s Sorry Now (all works 2015), are similar in construction, both rectangular boxes bent in the middle at obtuse angles as if ready to spring back to upright positions. In these works, the implication of movement is accompanied by Januslike ornament: What look like empty eye sockets from one view recede into drooping oblong eyeballs from the reverse. They toss their brightly colored forms backward as if in laughter, but the opposite view suggests the humanlike forms have doubled over in dejection.
This is a sharp-witted study of materiality and relationality at a moment dominated less by objects than their porous digital counterparts. Pure Seemings, a small ink drawing, depicts a hand reaching through a laptop screen to pick a pixelated nose. A small self-portrait—styled as the artist’s own “technoskin”—is incorporated in My Glassy Essence (Shame in the Cybernetic Fold), a rather scrappy wedge of a sculpture that, as its name suggests, seems to be folding in toward and away from itself at various junctures. It’s held together by bolted sutures and notched joints, full of smooth surfaces that play against rough puddles and drips of resin. The inclusion of Dodge’s self-image reminds us that human bodies, too, are porous products of science and craft, full of sharp contrasts and contradictions, ambivalence, and awkward moments.