New York

David Weinrib

Royal Marks Gallery

Although it is evident from this year’s group of cast plastic sculptures exhibited at the Royal Marks Gallery, that David Weinrib has overcome certain technical difficulties with his medium, it is also clear that the exploitation of its full expressive potential still offers him distinct formal problems. On the one hand, he shows several elegantly achieved pieces, while on the other, he reveals his still Abstract Expressionist attachments, in an unwillingness to abandon notions of assembling and agglomerating separate, multiple forms. Bulbous sacs, barrel shapes and buttressed arcs are often so closely packed or piled together that the full impact of the translucent plastic—with its ability to transmit and hold light radiantly within its substance—is entirely dissipated by an overbearing complexity of forms. The density and baroque interplay of notched blocks and penetrated cylinders with warped planes in Grey Center or Son counter the highly original use to which Weinrib puts the dematerialization of volume through transparency in other works. One finds that it is not so much the choice of forms, but the degree to which the material is compromised by their proliferation (and sometimes by their awkward scale) that is disturbing. And yet the level and tenacity of his ambition have allowed Weinrib to advance notably since last year’s showing.

Circle-Triangle is one of the finest works, both for its utter visual simplicity, and for its successful integration of matter and form. A cylindrical volume—seen in silhouette as a bright ring circumscribing and enclosing the shape of a triangle—opens about a yard in diameter, then narrows back in to the three-planed frame. The color of this piece is a pale pinkish-lavender, and as light is cast up through it from an illumined base, inside space and outside surface are both defined and dissolved simultaneously. The work has a conviction which in forms both its shaping and final effect that is seen in only one or two of the other sculptures. Wave, made with a much thicker block of plastic in an olive, pale greenish tint, or the small, three-part amber colored Mountain, composed of two obtuse triangular wedges on either side of an angled, perforated volume, are indicative of a new coherence and more fluid realization of form in Weinrib’s work.

Clear Center is perhaps the most interesting (though not, for me, the most appealing or successful piece) for its sensuous contradict ions. A jagged russet-colored oval is in set with cylindrical shafts and surrounds a core of glowing pale pink plastic, hollow at its center. At the beveled ends of the shafts the resin is graduated in tinted bands ranging from the rich ruby brown of the oval to golden yellow, then to a clear transparent layer. The luminous core infuses the piece with a lightness which belies the actual density and weight, but never, in fact, overcomes its blocky, barrel-like mass. Thus the work is symptomatic of the kind of formal restraint which Weinrib is not always able to exercise, so that he may finally liberate his means from its own physical limitations.

Emily Wasserman