Los Angeles

Christopher Georgesco

Newspace Gallery

Origami comes to mind amidst Christopher Georgesco’s new work, most of it smallish maquettes for large steel sculptures. In fact, origami could serve as a metaphor for the undeniably logical, surprisingly poetic way his forms have grown from one another in his work of the past five years. Georgesco’s earliest pieces, narrow, cast concrete totems about 10 feet high, were elegantly shaped so that each side read in planar counterpart to the other three. These obelisklike pieces subsequently developed into a series of concrete and steel tripods. A single profile of one of the earlier horizontal works was isolated and leaned against two other such distillations. The tripods, while awkward by comparison with the upright composure of the totem/obelisks, proved significant because in them Georgesco introduced a larger, more environmental scale—one could walk through them rather than around only—and because as a structure of diagonals they allowed him to enlarge his formal repertoire.

The work shown here divides into two sets. One, comprised of the small studies Open Plane and Expanded Plane, is simple origami: in both pieces Georgesco proposes four partial cuts into a vertical plane of stainless steel, the cut forms splayed slightly to each side of the central plane. Open Plane profits from an expansive arc cut so as to leave it tenuously attached to the body of the piece. Arched as elegantly as the back of any cat, the line testifies to Georgesco’s considerable drawing skill. It also reinforces my feeling that in work to come he will exploit the kinesthetic force of arcs and circles. The strength of the obelisks and columns was their fusion of geometry or abstraction with a vertical analogue for the human figure. However abstract, the work retained a naturalistic air—much like Ellsworth Kelly’s sculpture. Open Plane extends that sense, one large piece now containing the “personalities” of a whole collection of the earlier works. My own taste for this anthropoid mode lies behind the slight reservations I have about the more exclusively architectonic work, again origamilike, which made up the bulk of the show.

The large central room of the gallery housed the only sculpture built to scale, Split Step Studio. Made of stainless steel, blasted to a matte finish, the piece is three rectangles stacked and spot welded to form a dramatically cantilevered structure, 7 by 11 1/2 by 16 feet. In this large piece and the other maquettes related to it the stepped rise of a stairway seen from the side served as spine for the cantilevered elements. The artist’s skill at composing sculpture that really works in the round, that is engaging from all angles, is once again apparent, even though in walking around Split Step Studio its squat proportions become more and more unsettling. It is simply not high enough, requiring either two more stacked units or taller components. As it exists now Split Step Studio is neither large enough to seem architectural nor sufficiently smaller than human scale to appear as discrete object. It falters in an adimensional limbo, but the weakness is one of transferred scale only. Georgesco’s sureness of form remains, just as his record suggests that the cantilevers are an important increment in his maturing vision.

Richard Armstrong