New York

Loren Madson

David McKee Gallery

With this gallery-sized sculpture Loren Madsen took what I thought I knew of his work and turned it inside out. Whereas his earlier pieces seem to be about levitation, this one addresses compression. If other work celebrates various elegant denials of its aggregate weight, this one makes its own mass and the support of that mass its central feature. Compression here has its physical correlate—a weighty oak beam running the length of the whole piece—as well as more iconographic, even autobiographical ones: glimpses of a number of Madsen’s earlier sculptures are to be had. But the composite effect is greater than the sum of the parts. Madsen’s self-cannibalization proves nourishing both to him and to his audience.

The beam rests on a square grid in dark wood, set askew and elevated on legs about four feet off the gallery floor. At one edge of the grid the beam is sectioned and carved to form

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