Currently on view at David Zwirner’s 24 Grafton Street location in London, artist Carol Bove has erected a series of her recent sculptures, exploring the artist’s continued practice combining tightly orchestrated references to the canon on modern sculpture with her own enigmatic interpretations and spatial innovations. The show, which closes at the end of the week, marks a another chapter in Bove’s impressive vision, as her brightly colored, monolithic works continue to shift and evolve in vision and scope.
Characterized by compositions of various types of steel, Bove’s “collage sculptures,” are distinct amalgamations of various theoretical and art-historical influences, often spanning varied time periods and conceptual disciplines. Marking a clear dialogue with groups like the Chicago Imagists or the early years of the European avant-garde of the 1920’s and 30’s, Bove’s work is a nuanced assemblage of sources and visions. In the past, this interest often manifested itself through the inclusion of specific objects and ready-mades, incorporating texts and photographs or natural elements as often as specific visual cues. Yet Bove’s work, as it has evolved and grown in scale and scope, has managed to distill these elements into more abstract systems of reference, pulling together historical tropes into the objects themselves. Rather than merely incorporate specific references into her work, Bove’s studious practice and deep conceptual scope has seen works move towards a sense of formal incorporation that makes her interest in contrasting histories and concepts ever more elaborate, and ever more compelling.
The works are masterful execution, incorporating crushed, shaped pieces of metal and highly polished materials, mixing both surfaces and colors in a manner that is as much a suspension of abstract painting’s historical interests in three-dimensional space as it is a conversation with modern sculpture. The works on view in London elaborate on the artist’s earlier sculptures, with more complex forms that twist, fold, and bend into postures that belie their material construction. Bove manipulates steel to varying degrees, rendering gentle folds in some, and extreme, almost anthropomorphic contortions in others. Their contrasting textures—matte, glossy, or rough—create a further sense of visual play, heightening the surface tension throughout.
The result are a body of works that seem almost hyper-loaded with references, moving back and forth between the structural ruptures of John Chamberlain, Louise Nevelson’s accumulated assemblages, and the steel folds of Anthony Caro. Yet this sense of ever-shifting authorship and influence always gives way to Bove’s own hand. One can watch the artist move and twist these references in space, always mitigating any one artist’s own aesthetic interests with a coy twist of the hand.
Bove’s work is on view through August 3rd.
— D. Creahan
Carol Bove at David Zwirner [Exhibition Site]