In April, I met Jennifer Pastor at Carlson & Co., a high-end fabrication facility in the San Fernando Valley where, with a crew of technical assistants, she was putting the finishing touches on a large sculpture titled The Perfect Ride, 2003—an incredibly odd yet credible translation of a dam, which would soon be shipped to the Venice Biennale for its debut. Morphing between a sort of sci-fi behemoth and fantastic hot rod, the work comprised everything from sections of surrounding hillside to a river, with the baroque convolutions of an elegant water-circulation system begging for scrupulous examination. The sculpture was in the final phase of an epic production that began in 1998 (following her “Four Seasons” exhibition at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art) with intensive research on attempts to harness raw power—whether through awesome feats of engineering or through manifestations

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