Los Angeles

Roni Shneior, In the Back (detail), 2016, one element of a mixed-media installation, ceramic, pickles, cigarettes, 15 × 8 × 4".

Roni Shneior, In the Back (detail), 2016, one element of a mixed-media installation, ceramic, pickles, cigarettes, 15 × 8 × 4".

Orr Herz and Roni Shneior

Chin’s Push

Roni Shneior, In the Back (detail), 2016, one element of a mixed-media installation, ceramic, pickles, cigarettes, 15 × 8 × 4".

As if enacting a Venn diagram of independent and collaborative artmaking, Orr Herz and Roni Shneior partnered for “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” by each composing a single piece to exhibit and then joining together to complete a third. The three projects occupied distinct areas of the garden behind Chin’s Push, an artist-run project space, thus functioning as autonomous entities distinct from the primary gallery. The lush garden, cluttered with planting beds and numerous pots, chairs, and a picnic table, and anchored by a full-size vintage trailer, was the perfect site for Herz’s and Shneior’s interventions, which were unified by a layered sound element in the form of a gurgling ceramic water fountain that greeted viewers at its entrance. Your Knuckles Know (all works 2016) is the artists’ third such fountain. Their first appeared in the context of a Clay Night pop-up (a one-off showing of the more continuous groupings at Edgar Bryan’s house) at the LA MoCA store in 2015; their second was shown later that year at 356 S. Mission Rd. for the group show “Tickles.”

As with their previous water works, Your Knuckles Know demonstrates how the ceramic medium lends itself to joint productions. Here, a mutual decision regarding the shape of the fountain’s basin, which the pair then made together according to the preconceived rules, was mediated by elements fabricated independently and then affixed to the form with epoxy, part by part. The talons of a clawlike glazed hand mounted above the reservoir shot streams of water into the basin below, where additional groping palms awaited. With their motley shapes, slathered emphatically if crudely with shiny glazes, these biomorphic objects resolutely affirmed the fountain’s near-scatological playfulness, further enhanced by its art brut–esque construction.

Nor did the two other pieces assert stylistic independence for their own sake. Indeed, so related were the individual elements that it was nearly impossible to determine who made what, and this sort of tallying seemed very much beside the point. Shneior’s In the Back reiterated the centrality of ceramic limbs. The work consisted of a collection of individual ceramic components, some of which were draped across tree branches while others balanced on the back of a metal folding chair or teetered from a stake on a whitewashed wall. The two ends of the form hanging off the wall terminated in hands whose imprinted and painted digits gave the uncanny impression of fingernails. One palm, open as if in a kind of offering, held rotting, detumescent pickles; the other grasped a spent cigarette, ash eerily intact. (The cigarette was periodically replaced and relit.) These horseshoe-shaped objects appeared to waver, and in some cases actually did: One work, casually fitted into the leaves of a tree, shuddered each time the wind caught it. I noticed another chair-mounted piece only when a massive grasshopper drew me to that particular patch of the site. The objects’ lack of immediate impact only heightened their ultimate surreal effect.

A wonderland sensibility permeated Herz’s ludic sculpture as well. His Moons comprised hollow vessels fit into a blue Ping-Pong table in what might be described as the plot’s central clearing. The table’s surface had been cut away to accommodate the clay forms, a gesture that suggested a destabilized relation between support and supported. Beyond its evocation of play, the former was additionally functional in that it provided a ledge on which to mount black clamp lights. Conspicuous during the day, the lamps became invisible at night, while articulating the sculpture with rings of light. Thus did Moons chart first the passage of the sun through the tunnels produced by the bottomless vessels, the apertures of which allowed for the seepage of light onto the pavement below, and then the falling darkness. This changeability in which nothing changed except the ambient surroundings was enhanced by the rough-and-tumble ephemerality of the garden, the installation suggesting nothing so much as the desire for moments of connection, however fleeting, between the objects within it.

Suzanne Hudson