Robert Mangold

Fischbach Gallery

Robert Mangold is a tease. His one-man shows and occasional pieces in group exhibitions all hermetically confront the viewer, wait for the viewer to “give up,” which usually happens quickly, and then they don’t give the secret away. In short, Mangold is a professional magician. The current act runs as follows: seven pieces are exhibited in a large cement gallery. The pieces are composed of arc sections, circle fragments (like pie wedges) and other Mangoldiana such as chasuble shapes. The works are cut out of masonite and sprayed in matte colors of a neutral run—oysters, off-whites, greys, beiges and tans, in short an extremely reticent and allusive color register. The greater portion of the pieces combine several sections fitted together, and six of the seven are symmetrical. These works suggest directional impulses or registrations of sections which in turn posit movements in different directions, or, at best, in different tempi, from the static and closed images they comprise. The sections placed side by side create deep seams and incisions causing readings which at times relate to extremely shallow relief sculpture—perhaps unintentionally. The whole affair is quixotic, recalcitrant and beguilingly puzzling.

Robert Pincus-Witten