San Diego

Jene Highstein

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego | La Jolla

Like many of the post-Minimalist sculptors who emerged in the early ’70s, Jene Highstein has produced work that is notable for its enigmatic, hybrid qualities. Although clearly influenced by Minimalism’s reductive formal purity, with its focus on geometry and industrial materials, Highstein eschews its somewhat narrow concentration on ideas and systems in favor of a more organic, intuitive approach, marking in essence a shift from the primary to the primal. As Highstein himself puts it, “The content of my work is not so much nature abstracted, but form which is evolved in relation to nature and which carries with it natural associations.”

Exploiting a vocabulary of biomorphic forms in cast iron, wood, plaster, bronze, and concrete, Highstein stresses the work’s hand-hewn qualities, creating a sort of benign atavism dictated by tactile surfaces and significant shifts of scale. Here, sculpture

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