Jon Kessler

White Columns

In the six months or so since I last saw several of Jon Kessler’s automated wall reliefs in a show at Artists Space, he appears to have gained even more confidence in the wacky sci-fi possibilities of his work. The pieces that initially caught my eye are Rube Goldberg, Swiss–cuckoo clock affairs: small motors move a variety of figures and odd detritus about behind pieces of translucent Plexiglas, the ensembles lighted from their backs to make a kind of shadowbox narrative. But with those contraptions the animated drama cast on the Plexiglas is matched, sometimes overcome, by the furiously active, jerry-built inner workings, which are open and available for inspection from both sides. Small patches of model-train-like Utopia, the works revive the corpse of kinetic sculpture with considerable élan. Kessler’s materials have a found-on-Canal-Street grittiness to them, so that the finished

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