Artists using a modernist-influenced vocabulary these days tend to pointedly downplay grandiosity. The functional look of Matt Paweski’s sculptures might have something do with this tendency (he also designs furniture). So does the works’ small scale, which gives them the feeling of models or proposals rather than final statements.
Materially speaking, Paweski’s new work seems to derive in part from the monochrome-painted metal sculptures of Anthony Caro or Phillip King. But its deepest affinity with 1960s modernism might be related to what Michael Fried, writing about Caro in 1963, called “gesture.” For Fried, the juxtapositions of gravity-defying shapes in Caro’s work embodied archaic or prelinguistic gestures that, “in their fundamental physicality, are analogous to those on which all language, all expression are ultimately founded.” For Caro, such an approach had little to do
Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.
Not registered for artforum.com?
SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*
* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.