New York

Stephen Antonakos

Fischbach Gallery

Like Chryssa, Antonakos also works in neon, but for the reasons which make Chryssa’s epurative work commendable, his seem notably stiff. This, despite a simpler and clearer means. There is an allusive feature to Chryssa’s sculpture which softens all the rigorous theory.

In Antonakos’s exhibition there is only one completed neon structure which is accompanied by several projects. If ever they were raised, they would doubtless be handsomer than the one exhibited. My favorite model is a kind of Lyman Kippian portal of orange rods—though the scale of the width of the neon tube is grossly violated. Other projects include a sloping bank of neon rising perpendicular to the plane as if a great bristle brush were resting on its side.

The presentation piece is a white enameled aluminum cube which hides all the complex machinery and sequence memory. On this base, loosely speaking, a layer of white, yellow, Day-glo pink and ruby neon is laminated. In face of the incredible aeration of neon color Antonakos has managed to constipate the material in a way which is quite special. The neon is carefully worked like a vast potholder so that the white-yellow layer and the pink-ruby layer are continuous at the joint, each group of two doubling back on one another. Above the edge of the cube the neon elbows rigidly droop, imparting a distinctly feeble character to the “normal” ebullience of the medium. These revocations of the anticipated character of neon, I fear, are unintentional—although this argues in no way against them esthetically. A great wall scroll indicates the programming of the hold-sequences for each color, an aid for those impressed by academic spectacles but who lack the requisite patience to sit the changes out.

Robert Pincus-Witten