Los Angeles

David Gray

Feigen/Palmer Gallery

Gray’s polychrome metal sculpture exhibition (of works completed within the past twelve months) can be seen as part of a conscious attempt to focus in on the series of transformations wrought within the medium of sculpture during this century. Despite considerable dependence on surface coloration his shapes are intimate studio objects within a long-standing sculptural tradition, but they avoid reference to the monumental, the figurative or to the anthropomorphization of machinery. He maintains sculptural bulk by using pierced geometrical shapes of symmetrical and emblematic character––in effect, three-dimensional flags, with overtones of an industrial totemic object. Thus, Constructivist harmonics, particularly of post-and-lintel space enclosures, are completely obviated.

The color, extremely durable, is standard automobile lacquer, applied by spray, to give a dense, sensuous, low lustre finish. It is designed to produce a soft optical blur, and a consequent sense of indeterminacy, but the sculptural shape is not permitted to recede in importance behind optical flicker or suffusion of color.

Work of this nature is extremely demanding of acute relationships, and there is a touch of clumsiness in the rounded corners on some of the pieces which suggest that the material beneath the color is not welded sheet iron, but heavy wood; over-activation of color on some pieces also upsets a delicate balance. The deficiencies are minor; Gray is undoubtedly a sculptor of interest.

––John Coplans

#image 1#