“Turn Up The Bass”

The title of this show is way too upbeat for my current somber, post-election mood, but the work in this recent exhibition was so phenomenally good that it has to be mentioned here. My words are not going add much that isn’t already visible in the pictures so please forgive me while I stick to the very basics.

Until the 12th of this month, Arlene Shechet’s show of new sculptures completely rocked it at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. As stated in the press release, the new work is advancing the artist’s “long history of integrating object and pedestal” and Shechet is clearly having a lot of fun while doing it. Natural, found, and man-made materials and objects are conjoined into new sculptural thingamajigs that are full of vivacious color and character that look like they belong in some wacky over-sized board game. The show is fun and absolutely convincing: these pieces are full of purpose. What this work does for me is grab on to an elusive logic that defies verbal articulation: it is strictly aesthetic. Shechet seems to have access to a visual grammar that lets her spell out witty and surprising variations of exuberant exclamations that, once they have been brought in to 3-dimensional existence, go on to live a life of their own.

I absolutely loved being in the space with these delightful sculptures. And as grim as the general perspective is on things right now, the pictures alone have the power to make me feel slightly less saturnine.


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