new-york

Thom Merrick

Pat Hearn Gallery

Thom Merrick’s formally intriguing, quasi-functional hybrid constructions betray an admiring nod to the antiform experiments of the ’70s, and a more ambivalent one to the commodity-oriented work of the ’80s. While the artist’s vocabulary of industrial materials and manufactured products such as power tools, spare parts, and steel shelves, reveals certain affinities with the former precedent, a tendency toward cultural/commercial specificity points to the latter. Nevertheless, Merrick’s work constitutes neither an exercise in formal reduction nor a conceptual critique of commodification. The two pieces in this show evoke these precedents, yet avoid easy categorization.

Merrick’s large construction, Untitled, (all works 1990), which is comprised of a plywood wall both bisected by and suspended from a steel shelving unit, suggests a scaled-down version of a wall from a prefabricated house of

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