Los Angeles

Iain Baxter

Rolf Nelson Gallery

The “It” show of this past spring is followed by the hollow, mocking humor of “Thing Company,” the proliferating invention of Iain Baxter at the Rolf Nelson Gallery. This English-born, Canadian based young sculptor manufactures “accessories” for some of the better-known works of art of our times. There is, for example, a polka dotted slip cover for a Don Judd wall piece, or a quart or so of yellow fluid, in a clear plastic bag, for Claes Oldenburg’s soft toilets. Into clear, inflatable plastic bags of diverse sizes and shapes go other things as well, clouds for instance, and landscapes. Baxter is adept at applying derived ideas to the processing of works of art. His is a transparent and facile parody of the products and procedures of contemporary American works. His role may be interpreted as the tidying up, covering, and making complete and readily available at low cost others’ creations.

Hanging and extending biomorphic and cushiony forms are suspended, hung, and rested on the floor. The exposed inflating nozzles are treated as nipples and hoses; the show is a field day for the Freudian-symbol hunter. On a higher or lighter plane (if such is possible) there is a gingham-covered Dumbo-sized cloud, one that has swallowed a pair of right angles, and long and spiky crocodilian ones. A red lightning-bolt stands on its nose in exclamation, and an armada fights a silent battle in a plastic bag complete with beads of condensation in the “sky.”

As an “accessorizer” Baxter comes well after the act, like a balloon salesman with novelties and souvenirs found circulating outside the Big Top. Inoffensive and not a little flimsy and foolish, Thing Co. provides a few surprises and chuckles for the rubes. Meanwhile in the main arena . . .

Fidel A. Danieli