Critic's Pick: Aaron Curry
Doug McClemont
February 2012

With his fantastical biomorphic sculptures, Aaron Curry has carved out a place in the magical gap between two and three dimensions. His joinery assemblages are often constructed of flat interlocking shapes cut from plywood or aluminum and painted with intense artificial colors or black and white. They draw inspiration from modernism and pop culture in equal measure. The artist is also known for painted collages, which continue the play with dimensions, their planar elements raised as if not content to remain flat on the surface.

Some of Curry's sculptures seem to be on the verge of collapse; others sport wheels or dangle from the ceiling. All occupy space in a way that feels imposing but somehow temporary, as if they could be disassembled, packed and moved at a moment's notice, like mobile set pieces.

Or perhaps they're the actors themselves. 'When I started making these works I was trying to figure out a new way to get back into historical, figurative sculpture,'the artist explains. 'I like the awkwardness of the human body, and I try to find the complexity in that.'Each figure displays a variety of appendages: pods, spikes, cilia, horns, and comically drooping representations of body parts. The works can seem to teeter back and forth from abstraction to anthropomorphism, depending on one's vantage point. According to Curry, 'Over the last year they've become a little bit more abstract. I pushed them in the direction of the animal-like or even into complete abstraction.'

The artist, who was born in San Antonio in 1972, lives and works in Los Angeles. He earned a B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002 and an M.F.A. from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena three years later. His work is represented by David Kordansky in Los Angeles and Michael Werner in New York and London, where his prices ranges from $7,000 for collages to $130,000 for a large sculpture.

Color, as well as its absence, is Curry's current preoccupation. In 2010, the Public Art Fund put up two of his Day-Glo aluminum sculptures in New York's City Hall Park. That same year, for the exhibition 'Two Sheets Thick,'he covered the walls at David Kordansky with black-and-white silk-screened images of water droplets, which acted as a kind of camouflage for the black-and-white freestanding works. The artist cites his fascination with medieval altarpieces whose outer panels, painted in grisaille to represent relief sculpture, open to reveal a tableaux. 'In black and white, it was almost like the idea of something instead of the experience of it,'he says. 'Color represented the actual experience.'It is just one small theatrical effect from an inventive and singular vocabulary.