new-york

Erick Swenson

James Cohan Gallery | Chelsea

At least since his 1998 show at Dallas’s Angstrom Gallery, Erick Swenson has pursued a level of presentation and craftsmanship so exacting that it might attract phone calls equally from museum curators and from Hollywood special-effects technicians. Titled “Obviously a Movie,” the Angstrom show consisted of sculpted creatures, including a creepy half-horse, half-sheep called Edgar, 1997, that stood upright and two green-faced ape-men set in action poses among snow-covered rocks, all dusted with artificial snow. Making no secret of their artifice and sources, Swenson’s hybrid forms appear almost capable of movement yet are wholly unnatural and inhabit uniquely improbable environments. Like the aliens in the Star Wars movies, Swenson’s figures are initially modeled in clay, then cast in polyurethane resin and painted. But Swenson’s wondrous tableaux serve no script except his own, a set of

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