City Paper is not for tourists
The rhythm of Dane Winkler’s “Homesteading” is dense and immediate. His show at Hamiltonian Gallery, a trio of post-industrial sculptures, throbs with references to Richard Serra, Ernesto Neto, Félix González-Torres, Mark di Suvero, Bruce Nauman, and other heavyweight sculptors. In fact, his tri-force sequence is so packed with quotations, there’s little room for Dane Winkler.
“Afterbirth,” one of the three pieces, is a mound of earth and manure, or at least a sculpture that is supposed to look like one. (Stucco, cement, and other materials listed as media suggest that it’s more structure than pile.) The piece carefully recalls other art-mounds, from González-Torres’s familiar candy mountains to Michelangelo Pistoletto’s “Venus of the Rags,” a heap of laundry attended to by a plaster statue. Except Winkler’s piece subverts the form, because it’s made of shit. That’s the idea, anyway.
“Gibbous” features an oil drum over which a pulley has been suspended by a tripodal rig; the barrel is filled with lard. If this make-shift derrick were operational, that pulley would be cycling goop from the drum along a chain. In “Bounty,” a burlap sack filled with sheep’s wool hangs in the air, suspended by another pulley anchored by a cast-concrete block. It’s a convincing deception, an avoirdupois ton in which so much rock is balanced by so much wool.
There’s a hefty hum to Winkler’s installation, which shares the gallery space with a lighter solo show by Nara Park. Winkler’s works each contribute some motion to the overall room-feel; as a complete environment, “Homesteading” accomplishes more than its constituent parts—perhaps the same way that Charles Ray’s enigmatic sculptures always work better together than they do apart. Taken individually, though, Winkler’s works are each too indebted to his forebears.
Park’s exhibit, “Between Millions of Years,” is also a trio. (Or possibly a quartet, although “Fragment I” and “Fragment II,” two textured wall plates made of wood, read like a diptych.) The centerpiece of her show is the title work, “Between Millions of Years,” an installation comprising hundreds of transparent packing boxes stacked up as the orderly walls of a crystal cave.
Using fugitive materials such as plastic cake boxes is a move right out of Tara Donovan’s playbook. (See Donovan’s termite mounds of index cards on view at the Renwick Gallery.) But Park’s sensibility is more in keeping with a different Renwick artist, Maya Lin. Park’s installations don’t overpower, and they work at both the scale of the room (“Between Millions of Years”) or at the size of a painting (“Passage”).
In fact, the one relies on the other. If it weren’t for those smaller pieces, it might look as though Park’s larger piece aspired to be something even bigger, like a Donovan, a work that Park could only create with the same access to materials and studio assistants. Instead, the restrained, brick-like, painting-shaped works confirm that she is working on an intimate scale, even with larger works. Across all three pieces, Park is focusing on pattern and working with a regular beat.
Rhythm and tempo: On those points, both artists’ shows succeed. As a rule, Hamiltonian pairs its artist fellows without necessarily curating them together. The shows can be seen independently, one on one. Park and Winkler happen to accompany one another well: her brittle staccato percussion plus his low-brass harmony.
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