Magazine article Artforum International

Michelle Lopez: SIMON PRESTON GALLERY

Magazine article Artforum International

Michelle Lopez: SIMON PRESTON GALLERY

Article excerpt

Turning Minimalist form against itself is hardly a new idea--one might even consider it a genre unto itself--but it still differs room for maneuver. In "Vertical Neck," her second solo exhibition at Simon Preston, Brooklyn-based artist Michelle Lope/ presented a strong, clean suite of five new sculptures that capitalize on the movement's enduring legacy but sidestep parody and polemic to arrive at a more subtly allusive language. Lopez isn't afraid of explicit critical reference--in 2009's Portrait of Artist as Special Mission Project/Akira Revisited, for example, she went after Takashi Murakami's objectification of Asian women--but here that impulse was reined in, and the results arc the more satisfying for it. In its seeming restraint, the show exuded a bolstered confidence.

Bine Angels and Blue Angel (all works 2011) contain the show's most immediately identifiable art-historical references, playing on the high shine of Californian Finish Fetish sculpture and the tangled metal forms of John Chamberlain. Three roughly folded and heavily crumpled sheets of aluminum lean against the wall and tower above head height, their interiors painted blue or black, their exteriors white or colorlessly reflective. The suggestion that attempts at formal perfection are necessarily doomed to failure is clear, but in their fun-house-mirror distortions, these works direct that argument at not only artistic folly but also the viewer's own vanities and imperfections. Still, the news isn't all bad; there's an insinuation m the aluminum's shiny, paper like surfaces of gift wrap, a hint of celebration and renewal.

In two sculptures titled Your Board, Lopez employs the seven-ply-maple-and-granular-grip-tape makeup of a standard skateboard, but replaces the familiar lozenge shape with a square-ended strip that droops from the wall and trails onto the floor like a length of paper. The top section of each of these (one work features a single example, the other a pair) folds over onto itself to expose a pale verso, and the dark sparkle of the grip tape that covers their outward-facing surfaces makes for a satisfying chromatic and textural contrast with the bare wood. …

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