Twisted toy story

By GREG COOK  |  February 26, 2014

David Craig’s exhibition “Polarized” at 186 Carpenter (186 Carpenter St, Providence, through March 14) is the first section of the gallery’s two-part “exhibition on Antarctica.” Embedded in his abstract assemblages are, here and there, handsome photos (that I take to be) of water and golden sun and blue-white snow in the Antarctic. Some photos and wooden shapes hide behind rippled plastic screens. Or the pictures, sometimes right-side up, sometimes upside-down, peek out from amidst boxes, boards, and frames made of foam, plastic, wood, and curious found stuff. Everything is elegantly arranged in rectangles, stripes, or grids, plus an occasional slanting angle or a graceful curve.

At the gallery, I wasn’t sure of the Antarctic connections. I mean, the photos are obvious, but what’s not as apparent because the references are coded is that the materials themselves are meant to recall or be the sorts of materials Craig found when, the gallery says, he worked as a carpenter at a base station on the frozen southern continent. For those who have not been to Antarctica, his foam and wood and plastics might bring to mind the stuff used on commercial fishing boats, docks, floats, and other gear around New England.

But what really seems to motivate Craig here is abstraction. These are modest, polite post-modern “combines,” part of the lineage of Robert Rauschenberg and Richard Tuttle, but crisp and calm and precise.

Follow Greg Cook on Twitter @AestheticResear.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   EVOLVING PERSPECTIVES  |  July 23, 2014
    Somewhere around the 1950s, Florence Leif drastically changed her style.
  •   DOODLES, LIGHTS, AND DREAMS  |  July 16, 2014
    Gibson Prouty has found a muse — classic yellow pencils with pink erasers on the end.
  •   SEEING ANEW  |  July 09, 2014
    The aim of the RISD Museum’s eight newly renovated galleries for its permanent collection of fashion and Egyptian and Asian art seems to be “quiet contemplation.”
  •   BRIGHTNESS AND DARKNESS  |  June 25, 2014
    Constellations of mirror ball clouds dangle from the ceiling on pink cords at the center of the room and slowly rotate and sparkle. You’re invited to peer though weird, lumpy crystal-telescope-things.
  •   FIGHTING THE POWER  |  June 18, 2014
    It was around 1983 when Providence artist James Montford and a friend posed as photographers to check out the Ku Klux Klan rally in Norwalk, Connecticut.

 See all articles by: GREG COOK