It is not unusual to smell an Ernesto Neto installation before you see it. Often, though not always, the artist incorporates scents into his environmental sculptures, in the quest for a subtler, but more richly sensorial, immersive aesthetic experience than the popular zeitgeist has to offer. Neto’s vision is both ambitious and organic, generating freestanding and architecturally engaged objects that are both solid and permeable. A deep love of hand-dyed color across a gradient spectrum, and weavings of fabric, shells and other natural materials, produce biomorphic large-scale objects that activate shared spaces with eccentric, pendulous shapes and the rich scent of exotic earthy spices.
Children of the Earth both expands on and evolves the artist’s vision, in which not only materials but energy fields come under his purview. Born in Rio de Janeiro, and continuing to live and work in Brazil, Neto does lay claim to an artistic legacy of Latin American painters of the conceptual avant-garde for whom the earth was a muse and materials carry their own meaning, as well as to the influence of European and American modernists with a sense of sculptural spectacle. Though his work is part of major public collections on the West Coast such as MOCA, SFMOMA, and MOCA San Diego, where he had a solo show in 2007, this will be Neto’s first exhibition in Los Angeles since 2003 at MOCA’s erstwhile Pacific Design Center location. While final details have not been revealed, a luxurious sensorium awaits the curious.
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, 1010 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; opening reception: Sat., Sept. 14; through Nov. 2; (323) 380-7172, tanyabonakdargallery.com.