Providence

Ed Mayer

Bell Gallery, Brown University

Ed Mayer makes precise structures. No, that’s not quite right—Mayer’s structures are precise, piles of wooden laths, criss-crossed log-cabin fashion. In the six major works exhibited recently along with several drawings and prints, it became apparent that the artist does not so much impart mathematical clarity to his materials as draw that accuracy from their physical limits.

In a work like Glide, 1978, we are acutely aware of the delicacy of Mayer’s method, of fine boundaries traced between the friction of the nubby wood surface, the weight of the cross strips and the pitch of each upright. Together they constitute a kind of natural formula, giving the piece its eventual contour—in this case an undulating, lively arch with voussoirs and key of lath not stone.

Although the artist denies historical and art-image referents such as this, many leap to mind as we approach the differently shaped

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