Critics’ Picks

Richard Rezac, Aesop (09-06), 2009, cast Hydrocal, aluminum, dyed silk, 17 1/4 x 24 x 20 1/2".

Richard Rezac, Aesop (09-06), 2009, cast Hydrocal, aluminum, dyed silk, 17 1/4 x 24 x 20 1/2".

Chicago

Richard Rezac

Rhona Hoffman Gallery
1711 West Chicago Avenue
January 8–February 13, 2010

A quirky equilibrium characterizes Richard Rezac’s sculptural abstractions. They evoke the sleek minimalism of contemporary interior design as readily as they do the curvaceous flourishes of Baroque architecture, yet they claim allegiance to neither. Although Rezac is known for a concise, poised formal rigor, his recent sculptures prove he’s a master at contrasting textures, too. Viewed at a distance, many of their surfaces appear pristine, but closer inspection reveals tiny nicks, scratches, and smudges that serve to humanize his project.

The exhibition includes preparatory drawings that offer insight into the artist’s thinking process. Study for Untitled (09-08), 2009, suggests Rezac initially had a different orientation in mind for the resulting sculpture, which—like several others on view—is oriented along a tilted vertical axis. Almost all the works in this show are affixed to the wall slightly below eye level. Aesop, 2009, however, skims the concrete floor like a small sea barge. Two crisp, diaphanous dyed silk panels are suspended from tiny aluminum girders like flags (or curtains). The structure rests atop a sliced-up chalky white capsule cast from Hydrocal (a gypsum plaster).

The use of polished aluminum and bronze in several of the sculptures allows for the play of reflectivity and opacity while bringing to mind the streamlined functionalism of high-end kitchen and bathroom fixtures. The silk, cherrywood, and Hydrocal suggest tactility and malleability, and yet the fact that silk and cherrywood are materials favored by the luxury-home-goods industry for their suggestion of richness, depth, and warmth adds a piquant fillip of irony to these works. Lyric and purposeless, the pieces are sculptural folly for the serious-minded viewer.