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Review: 'Boolean Valley' at MOCA at PDC

May 15, 2009 | 11:30 am

Boolean “Boolean Valley,” a collaborative installation by L.A. potter Adam Silverman and Boston architect Nader Tehrani, intersects traditional craft with digital art. Though the junction is conceptually intriguing, the result is visually inert.

Silverman and Tehrani, who met as students at the Rhode Island School of Design, made nearly 200 bullet-shaped clay pots, then sliced them horizontally at different heights. Their arrangement mingles dome shapes with rings of various sizes. The glazing is cobalt blue and graphite gray, each with a low-key iridescence.

A computer-generated logical system (the Boolean reference in the title) guided the placement of the nearly 400 resulting forms, which create a curved, undulating ceramic field in the Museum of Contemporary Art’s gallery at the Pacific Design Center. (The work was commissioned by the Montalvo Art Center near San Jose.) A wheel-thrown vessel creates horizontal strata of circular objects; a similar program describes the topographical landscape established in the room.

Ceramic vessels constitute art’s ground zero, historically speaking, and one can sense a parallel being drawn with the infancy of digital imaging today. And the militaristic overtones of the bullet-shape mingles with bodily references to a phallus or breast, colliding destructive and creative possibilities. But the physicality of the vessels and their rolling topography are not enough to sustain the piece. One is inevitably led toward wondering what might come next.

— Christopher Knight

MOCA at the PDC, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (310) 289-5223. Through July 5. Closed Mondays.

Above: Installation view of "Boolean Valley." Credit: Brian Forrest

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