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Review: Jedediah Caesar at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

April 30, 2009 |  5:00 pm


Jedediah Caesar is a fascinating cross between sausage-maker and archaeologist of the present, Minimalist and materialist. He throws all kinds of odds and ends (bits of wood, fiber, plastic, metal, plant stems, shells, studio scraps) into boxes or crates, pours in resin (clear or colored), cuts the resulting hardened blocks into slices, then mounts the cross-sections (recalling Carl Andre’s squares and also Constructivist designs) on the wall like checkerboard tiles or in vertical stacks.

In his show at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, larger pieces lean against the wall like John McCracken planks. The surfaces dance with itchy lines and furry clots. The translucent resins gleam with quartz-like purity; the more opaque ones provide industrial-strength filler.

Caesar, based in L.A., exhibits work that represents different phases of his process, including large unaltered accretions of objects (rusted chair frames, shredded tires, tumbleweeds) and recycled portions of earlier, exhibited work. One unsawed box has a foamy head the color of orange sherbet, clotted with random debris.

Time is not a neutral background to Caesar’s work but an active force within it, turning mundane fragments into fossilized artifacts. The found and the made, the serendipitous and the intentional, jostle each other throughout. The most compelling pieces are those in which neither impulse dominates but in which chance and control reach a tenuous equilibrium. The abject flirts with beauty, and the tone is rollicking, rough and raw.

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, 5795 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, (323) 933-2117, through May 23. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

-- Leah Ollman

Above: Detail of Caesar's untitled work made of resin and other materials. Credit: Gene Ogami/Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects