San Francisco

Art Grant

Richmond Art Center

Art Grant assembles a funky menagerie and some rather nasty ladies from small bits of insignificant scrap, employing the minimum craftsmanship necessary to achieve a structure. His gift for se­lection and personification and sense of humor are undeniable.

This casual approach to junk is cari­cature and when Grant’s sculptures stay within their scope, they are uniquely incisive. However, only a human gesture is funny when it is exaggerated. A chip­munk is cute, but a chipmunk is never ludicrous. His scrap snail may be a curiosity, but it is neither sculpturally sound nor successful as a grotesque.

Grant seems to be fascinated with the way mechanical refuse resembles living creatures. Luckily, he thinks it less remarkable to find vicious women imaged in junk than animals. This is one reason why his figure pieces are better, not only as caricature but also as sculpture. Rusty Lady succeeds because all the questions are posed and answered in terms of how the materials function, not in terms of what the materials once were. Rusty Lady may be a loud-mouthed witch, with a hole in her head and bells in her bosom, but it is the gesture that is funny, not the fact that some sort of rusted alarm system has been incorporated into her body.

From his work, it would appear that Grant is a cross between a butterfly collector and a hipster with a lot on his mind. When he drops the net and lets the hipster out, his work is big on a small scale, hilarious and pertinent.

––Joanna C. Maglott