new-york

Ronald Bladen

Fischbach Gallery

Ronald Bladen occupies a sculptural position that is exactly opposite to that of Louise Nevelson. His work is holistic, fully threedimensional, and clean of surface. But the unbroken black skins of his pieces hide an Expressionist heart that his resolutely Minimal stance rarely permits us to see. His recent show of plywood prototypes and drawings, however, exposed this interior world in a small model for Coltrane, 1969, which bristled with aggressive nails and splinters of roughly cut plywood. Looking for all the world like a Piranesi prison, it is a maze of engineering complexity so dense it seems overbuilt. It serves to remind us that the artist’s roots are in Abstract Expressionism and post-Abstract Expressionism; he exhibited as a painter until 1965. Even today Bladen’s ideas for his sculptures seem to be closely related to painting configurations. His maze of 1970, for instance, was

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