New York

Bill Bollinger

Bykert Gallery

To accuse a pared-down plastic expression of lacking interest simply because its formal components are few, or because it defies critically exhaustive description, is not to attend it with due credit. Bill Bollinger, showing at the Bykert Gallery, still works with simple manufactured metal units, but he is articulating space and surfaces in a new and more complex way. This is not to say, however, that the recent works, which are composed of jointed aluminum pipes, are entirely or vitally successful. They are certainly not as lethally attractive as the slender angled shafts which he has exhibited previously, and Bollinger seems to have adapted a different, more encompassingly personal type of expression with these blunt, rounded tubes. They butt aggressively into space, slink along the floor, or splay out from the walls. The pieces are of two varieties in terms of spatial disposition, although the method of facture and the parts are the same in all of them. Two aluminum pipes of unequal length are joined (immovably) by an elbow socket—either both of the pipes are on the floor, or else one half is attached to the wall, while the other juts out to touch ground only at a certain point. As one member extends to reach the floor, it creates a warped, though invisible plane in relation to the diagonally placed wall pipe to which it is attached. This torquing effect is perhaps the most interesting of all the works, and is repeated in a less inventive floor piece where radially joined spokes enclose a low and very slight billow between themselves. The fact that the components are structurally open, and can be “closed” only by the imagination, makes these works less introspective, reticent, or specific than much other work in the “minimal” mode. The piece which tried hardest (and which is superficially the most impressive) consisted of a twenty foot long pipe hugging the floor of one gallery space, then abruptly socketing into a thirty foot span on the wall, reaching into the next room. It was ambitious, almost lyrical, but did not work as well spatially as the smaller attempts.

Emily Wasserman