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Art review: 'The Big Four' at Steve Turner Contemporary

December 3, 2010 |  4:00 pm

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The premise of “The Big Four” — sculpture by four Los Angeles artists who work on long-term, large-scale projects — is patently dull. Thankfully, most of the work on view at Steve Turner Contemporary is not. Indeed, it’s nice to have the space — both mental and physical — to focus on just four spare pieces. 

For some artists, working on a project for an extended period of time means that it becomes encrusted, not only with layers of meaning but with layers of stuff. In the case of these four — Jed Lind, Jacob Yanes, Michael Decker and Liz Glynn — time seems to have had a refining effect, resulting for the most part in works of soft-spoken clarity. 

_mg_1619 Lind’s 10-foot satellite dish is riddled with irregular holes patterned after fan coral; they also evoke the veiny texture of decaying leaves. The piece is an uncanny marriage of nature and technology that suggests the organic spread of high-tech communication even as it embodies its decay. Death is also a double-edged sword in Yanes’ larger-than-life statue of a modern-day soldier. The oddly vulnerable, reclining figure undermines the typically upright, heroic pose of military memorials with a subtly submissive erotic charge. 

Decker’s tree of vintage ironing boards — balancing precariously like a low-rent Nancy Rubins — unfortunately falls flat, but the most powerful work belongs to Glynn, who has turned the gallery’s second floor into a claustrophobic wooden enclosure that appears to open onto a vertiginous, bottomless nothing. It’s disorienting and feels truly precarious for a moment — groping in a dark little corner, you’re unsure whether to turn back or jump.

–- Sharon Mizota

Steve Turner Contemporary, 6026 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., (323) 931-3721, through Dec. 18. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.steveturnercontemporary.com

Images: Jacob Yanes, "Soldier" (top) and Jed Lind, "Captain Midnight." Credit: Wild Don Lewis

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