New York

Steven Urry

Zabriskie Gallery

Biomorphism and automatism were conventions developed during the sway of Surrealism. Insofar as the vacuum elicited by the demise of Pop art appears to have been filled by multi-media events and similar Surrealizing derivatives, one can see that Steven Urry is using these conventions to advantage. Certainly, biomorphism and automatism appear at this moment to be enjoying a refreshed prestige—almost as if it had entered a third phase of Pop art (if one considered Rauschenberg and Johns as the parental unit and Warhol, Lichtenstein, Segal and Rosenquist as the second generation).

Still, it seems a paltry achievement to shore up an immediately evident sculptural ambitiousness with such devices and to further attenuate them with humorous conceits of material. Like brand new aluminum merchandise, Urry’s pieces gleam with a wire-brushed, Smith-like polish—a sheen which intensifies the visible lack of serious weight in the aluminum material to begin with.

Urry is attracted by amoebic splatters—goppy, suspended forms, which for all their drooping are nonetheless firm, stiff and shiny. The most enterprising piece is Earth-Mother which rises up, a great sleeve of a monster, and, like a callous mercurial behemoth, drops a brood of basin-shaped young in her path. Many people will find it funny, exciting, who knows, perhaps even important. I don’t.

Robert Pincus-Witten