New York

Keith Sonnier

PaceWildenstein 22

Neon is usually thought of as Keith Sonnier’s “signature substance,” but in Arabic Fringe, 2004, for example, it is only one element in what is essentially a three-dimensional drawing. To the left of two horizontal lines of white neon tubing is, in the same medium, an expressionistic squiggle of red. But there are also the conspicuous black wires (another linear element) that connect them, which dangle with all the graceful insouciance of chance, and the bulky transformer to which they are attached. A wire mesh also links them, holding two little starfish as if in a net—the romantic catch of the day. Two hairy fringes—they look like false eyelashes (a feminine association supported by the warm pink-red light cast onto the wall behind them)—hover in front of the squiggle. In contrast, the white neon lines emanate “masculine” auras of cool turquoise.

Dare one characterize Sonnier as a witty

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