los-angeles

Toby Ziegler

Patrick Painter, Inc

Hovering before visitors to British artist Toby Ziegler’s recent US solo debut was True North (all works 2007), one of several sculptures made by joining planes of corrugated cardboard into faceted, volumetric forms. Painted white and suspended from the ceiling, True North seems abstract at first glance, but eventually yields to a figurative read. Its combination of geodesically domed buttocks and cleanly severed thighs and waist suggest both a fragment of classical statuary and the harshly truncated torso of a Brancusi. But if one rotates the object in space, one finds that its provocatively specific pose mimics that of the female figure in Gustave Courbet’s Origine du Monde, 1866. The chopping of the sculpture duplicates the cropping that gives Courbet’s painting the combination of intimacy and confrontational punch that characterizes what we would call, in modern terms, a crotch shot.

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