Aaron Curry at David Kordansky
There's an almost passive-aggressive aspect to the titling of Aaron Curry's current exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery. "Two Sheets Thick" dares one to ascribe to Curry's offering a thinness of the sort that often underlies spectacle, and there's no doubting that spectacle is part of the game here. But the title also plays cleverly upon layering, which is found everywhere in this show — in collages, in walls papered over with enlarged, silkscreened images of beaded-up liquid, and in assorted finishes and graphic appliqués spanning the surfaces of the flat elements of which Curry's sculptures are constructed. More specifically, the title plays upon the simple combination of perpendicular planar elements, interlocked along X and Y axes, which defines Curry's form-generating methodology and the lap-joint connecting of plates (two sheets thick) that facilitate his production of larger works. Curiously, the gallery's promotional verbiage invokes ancient and solid vintage avant-garde precedents (the caves at Lascaux, Kurt Schwitters, El Lissitzky, Marcel Duchamp) in what seems almost an effort to preemptively counteract the very temptation Curry delivers, while failing to note the modernist sculptors and painters (Joan Miro, Isamu Noguchi, Alexander Calder, David Smith) whose approaches to form he most clearly borrows, as well as the Pop, Graffiti and post-Pop impresarios (Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons) who provide him with an arsenal of finish and presentation maneuvers. In fact, it's certainly arguable that — with his surrealist/vitalist/primitivist biomorphic forms cut out of assorted sheet materials and slotted together like the sorts of models kids assemble out of die-cut cardboard, done at heroic scale, perched atop rolling carts and treated to a catalog of surface treatments — is maneuvering what Curry is best at. The shifts and twists in the work are so pervasive that one begins to wonder whether Curry isn't playing a game of conceptual hide-the-ball by throwing everything he can out into plain sight with glaring ambition. Still, there's something compelling about Curry's oeuvre, something more find-the-ball in nature. For all the rapid-fire pastiche, the work manages to come off as surprisingly owned, surprisingly his, and that's not just because of the absurd signatures on everything. It's because the work in the end seems plagued by doubt, plagued by fear of being found out, plagued with worry about the validity of its own endeavor, as it tries earnestly to say something of the intersection of art and the body at a time when art and the body both seem more simultaneously over-pumped and frail than ever.
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