los-angeles

Michael Coughlan

Tri Gallery

Michael Coughlan combines nylon cords, plywood, a volcano, and some rubber worms to create formally enticing and conceptually complex sculptures that take cheerful jabs at both Minimalist sculpture and traditional painting.

A gnarly sheet of mid-grade plywood, Still Life (all works 1994) is adorned with black nylon spider webs. Squiggly black rubber worms nestle in the carefully drilled holes. This artificial infestation turns this piece into a parodic still life: premature, manufactured decrepitude coupled with well-fed, fake vermin. The taut webs are unadorned by their real-life counterparts, while the worms, still supple, oily, and new looking, are free of the dust that will inevitably settle and stick. Similarly, An Uncertain Problem is a comic send-up of the nonfunctional art object. A white pedestal is covered with a nylon spider web. Neatly knotted, of a neon orange that could attract

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