Jerry Peart


Jerry Peart’s painted aluminum sculpture is exuberant in a colorful, theatrical, outlandish way, full of vanity-table purples, pinks, and chartreuses. One curved surface leads into another; the pieces swoop and lean in a sort of continuous, swinging rhythm of joined, rebounding arcs, with hi-gloss elements framing negative spaces and each work balanced on some fishlike flap or giraffish leg.

The release of his small sculpture in editions seems a good idea. The parts are cut out and painted, in persistent Chicago steel sculpture style, with Peart doing all the work himself, fabricating and signing ten numbers in one edition. His design involves being able to position each work in several ways, each coming across as a completely different composition—a comic play on the notion of a solid, unique, art object, a transformation of object into relative phases or mirror images of itself.

Peart’s pencil drawing for Falling Meteor looks like the plan for an architectural elevation. I tried to imagine the “pieces” put together as the actual sculpture but arrived at various compositions each time, the drawing thus a sort of prod for an edition of conceptual work.

Peart’s work often has an interactive, swervy good humor about it, unexpected perhaps, in the large scale in which he frequently works. This bizarre personality becomes an indispensable quality; some of his past more thoroughly formal designs came across as only a boring bigness for the sake of bigness. This raises a crucial issue for large-scale sculpture today: what is the point of making something enormous and expensive, the need for “content” assuming proportions as large as the sculpture itself? Somehow, it is easier to get away with a less elevating conception when the work is only five inches high.

C. L. Morrison