New York

G. E. Moore

O.K. Harris Gallery

G. E. Moore has a lot of ideas, but hasn’t had the opportunity to work enough of them through in physical actuality to get a sure grip on his materials. There are sensations he would like his sculpture to convey: of force so precariously’ balanced that a palpable feeling of physical threat or potential danger is created. But he has been stymied by difficulties in the execution of his proposed pieces in a real space, and these problems interfere with the impact of his work.

Walking into the first room at O.K. Harris, the viewer is confronted by a long strip of black rubber stretching from ceiling to floor along the length of the room. It is interrupted by a trapeze support a third of the way along the rubber, and by a square slab of concrete that anchors the rubber to the floor. It sounds dramatic, but comes through static because that black rubber, too inert and heavy, refuses to reveal any visible strain. The piece is spatially static as well. It doesn’t engage the gallery space in an environmental sense. Nor does it engage the viewer physically by encouraging him to move under and around it, or psychologically, by suggesting dangerous tension.

The same problems dog the rubber pieces in the second room. The triangular stretch piece inside the doorway, for example, is only a momentary obstacle to passage, rather than a taut, ominous slingshot. Again, the rubber is so heavy the artist had to tie it up in several places to keep it from sagging.

The brick piece in a small back room does make the transition from proposal to execution successfully. It is definitely disconcerting to walk into a room and discover dozens of bricks suspended by unobtrusive nylon thread a few feet below the ceiling as if they were decorations for a senior prom. I felt real threat here and ducked involuntarily.

The last room in the gallery contains several of the careful drawings Moore made for all his proposals. The majority of them are no more than renderings for projects that need physical realization for apprehension. There was one drawing, however, that stood on its own with a spontaneous sense of invention and no need for actualization. It was for a series of graduated concrete blocks to be placed along the San Andreas Fault. The blocks would be destroyed sequentially as quakes of increasing magnitude occurred along the fault.

Kasha Linville