Los Angeles

Oliver Andrews

Stuart Gallery

Junk sculpture is no longer necessarily funky. There is now such a thing as refined junk, or semi-junk. Oliver Andrews’s latest work at David Stuart has acquired the clean surfaces of the current reductive movement and its offshoots. The similarity, however, is no more than skin-deep. Most of Andrews’s sculptures are complex and ambiguous. He employs Anthony Caro’s trick of juggling planes and lines in space, deliberately avoiding any obvious geometric parallels. For instance, Ra has only three components and it is not especially large. But it is difficult to take in at a glance because from any one angle there are hidden aspects. A three-sided welded bronze piece slants up from the base. It supports a J-shaped, solid natural bronze piece which curves through its top side and supports, in its turn, a flat, square piece of perforated steel.

The basic materials in the exhibition are metal, stone, wood and, in two works, water. To a Marine Venus is a fountain of stainless steel and bronze. The play of water over metal surfaces is dealt with in two of its limitless aspects. It pours over the flat bronze surface in a smooth sheet. This section is connected by a branch of metal to a thick stainless steel plate which has a series of small holes drilled through the upper part of its face. Water is pumped through these holes in little streams which project slightly outward and then down over the plate in a fluctuating pattern. It is relatively small, but the two working surfaces cannot be seen together, as they face away from each other.

Sunset is one of the smallest and most interesting works. It is involved with the contrasting effects of wood and metal in terms of their material associations (weight, density, etc.). There are a light, arcing piece of wood, a solid chunk of red painted bronze and a long, thin, sinuous rod of polished steel. Each piece is sensitively proportioned and carefully poised in space.

The larger Delos employs a piece of rough white marble with one polished edge and a flat, curved piece of white painted bronze. These are joined by a two-pronged, fibrillose branch of shiny steel. From one side, the two white constituents and the undulating metal create a visually manageable design. But typically, as one moves around, hidden supports come into view and its coherence is dissipated in strange, dislocated configurations.

––Jane Livingston