New York

Roger Bolomey, Duane Hatchett, David von Schlegell and Robert Howard

Royal S. Marks Gallery

A group show of one work apiece by four sculptors at Royal S. Marks makes it clear that the quality and interest of current sculpture continue to press toward higher standards within the straight sculpture approach of form and volume disposed in space with a minimum of associative meanings.

Roger Bolomey, who has been more than usually libeled by the unsatisfactory nature of photographic reproduction, is represented with a large Wind Gate of polyurethane and aluminum. Meant to be set against a wall, this piece unfurls two large waves of blackish material, seemingly wind-formed, which almost meet at a vertical series of precise blade-like vents. Subtle rhythms in the finish of the black curved planes enhance their sweep and reveal a concern for craft and technique not popular enough with sculptors employing synthetics. As the articulation of all parts is both painstaking and restrained, the finesse of the composition never endangers itself with enervating elegance.

Duane Hatchett’s painted steel Sun Disk owes a little something to David Smith’s Tank Totems, but a muscular flexing of the sheet steel with angular reversals of direction in the forms has a springy vitality quite Hatchett’s own. The tilted disk at the top has an apparent foreshortening and so hovers above the vaulting base simply and surely. As with all the artists in the show, the craftsmanship is commendable and satisfying in this vigorous monument.

David von Schlegell, here working in metal (aluminum) rather that in wood as before, shows a large untitled piece more supple and free than his earlier sculpture. Switching material seems to have been the critical decision, though the technique, using panels bordered with Phillips screws enclosing an armature, is as before. The satiny brushed finish given the metal makes the forms flow smoothly and daringly. Essentially an eccentric pointed arch jointed by a heavy hinged member, von Schlegell’s piece pierces upwards, its hollowed surfaces registering the pressure of surrounding space. The arch is large enough to duck under, making the most of the environmental scale prominent in current sculpture.

Robert Howard’s Pipe Dream in polychrome welded steel is the one piece in the show that gives rise to some reservations. The additive composition of tubular forms which open and close stays pretty much within the confines of Weinrib’s eclectic vocabulary. However, the abrupt changes of direction in form and large jerky rhythms of the piece are sufficiently individual and expressive so that the familiarity of the format is not a fatal weakness. Trying something on for size is a legitimate means of focusing one’s own identity. The execution of Howard’s piece is a little less meticulous than that of his colleagues here, but is satisfactory. One man shows by each of these artists will be most welcome.

Dennis Adrian