Magazine article Sculpture

Mahwah, New Jersey

Magazine article Sculpture

Mahwah, New Jersey

Article excerpt

Ryan Roa

Pascal Gallery, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Ryan Roa's black bungee-cord sculptures recall Minimalist efforts of more than a generation ago. His works are perhaps more accurately described as drawings in space: Roa links one cord to another and tethers them to the ceiling, wall, or floor to produce linear as well as volumetric compositions. Visitors to his recent show, "Constant Velocity," needed to circumnavigate the works, which functioned both in their own right and in aggregate as a large installation.

The sophistication of these works is considerable, although there are times when Roa's art seems a bit too elementary for full engagement. That said, it is important to remember the sculpture of Carl Andre, Donald Judd, and Richard Serra, all of whom have made art of radical simplicity, relying on the relations of the work to its site and to its audience, just as Roa does. Roa is taking his chances much like his legendary predecessors, and for the most part, this installation worked quite well, with individual sculptures developing a conversation with other works and adding to the striking totality of the environment.

Installation, according to Roa, is complicated because the proper tension needs to be set between one cord and the next. Because the cords cannot be bent in a permanent manner, he is forced to work in a purely linear fashion, echoing the right-angle aesthetic of the early Minimalists. This limitation does not stop him from taking risks, however. One of the most successful pieces was attached to a wall that viewers could see from a second-floor walkway to the gallery, itself a secondfloor space. …

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