Magazine article Artforum International

Jason Dodge: CASEY KAPLAN GALLERY

Magazine article Artforum International

Jason Dodge: CASEY KAPLAN GALLERY

Article excerpt

From Trisha Donnelly to Jonathan Monk to Simon Starling, Casey Kaplan Gallery represents a number of artists whose conceptually inflected artwork constructs or relies upon narrative scaffolding. So, too, does Jason Dodge's slow-burn art. His sixth exhibition at this gallery was visually unprepossessing but upon reflection revealed engaging emotional and psychological complexities. Take, for example, in order of imagined altitude I an astronomer, a meteorologist, an ornithologist, a geologist, and a civil engineer, cut pockets from their trousers (all works 2009). One would be hard-pressed to know, without the title, what to make of the small pile of pieces of fabric resting on a pedestal. The idiosyncratic professional hierarchy suggested by the arrangement, funny on its own, is buttressed by knowledge of Above the Weather, 2007, an earlier work (not in this show) for which Dodge commissioned a Polish woman to knit a length of yarn equivalent to the distance from the surface of the earth to the height at which one is "above the weather." Together, these sculptures manifest Dodge's sky-gazing Romantic conflation of science and poetry, perhaps akin to that of the enthusiastic amateurs Richard Holmes describes in his appropriately titled recent book Age of Wonder (2008).

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As evidenced in the rest of this exhibition, for Dodge, poetry most often takes precedence. That was the show's chief strength and its primary liability. As flat-footed works such as light and glove or sleeping bag/air/a tenor recorder suggest, it can be exceedingly difficult to communicate to viewers the ineffable meanings that cling to demure arrangements of everyday objects. Your moveable and un-moveable parts/a broken furnace removed from house, and a box/that carried a new furnace demonstrates the limit of this methodology at its other extreme. …

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