Los Angeles

Robert Cremean

Mekler Gallery

Picasso supposedly said, when reproached for the “ugliness” of one of his early Cubist paintings, “What comes after can be beautiful.” Sixty years after the fact, Robert Cremean is still working out basically Cubist tenets in his sculpture—while in the meantime the revolutionary has become the academic. Cremean is an academic sculptor but, as we’ve learned of the 19th century, the academic also has its merits. Cremean is a very impressive academic sculptor; his work can be both interesting and beautiful.

The Mekler Gallery show (there’s a concurrent, and I think less impressive, exhibition at the Newport Beach Museum) is composed of 18 pieces, all varied aspects of the same female figure, carved from blocks of laminated sugarpine, covered here and there (on a hand, a towel, in a fragment of Cubist checkerboard) with a patch of white gesso. Although not displayed in place because of a space

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