Carol Bove and Nate Lowman at Maccarone
By Genie Davis
At Maccarone through December 24th, Carol Bove and Nate Lowman offer two potent solo exhibitions.
Bove’s large-scale sculptures are positioned in the exhibition courtyard, weighty works that are also playful in their abstract forms. Her “Macaroni” is a looped white coated steel sculpture that resembles a piece of an alien jungle gym, or curved handwritten letters. In fact, Bove’s work here is a part of her “glyph” series, which incorporates linguistic elements. The title depicts the form: this is a series of inscrutable letters written in stretched steel pasta.
“Love Fashions the Sidereal Body of the One in the Image and Likeness of the Other,” melds an upright I-beam to a large slab of petrified wood. This vertical sculpture seems to defy gravity – the wood should not be held to the beam. To do so, the wood seems to wrap itself around the beam, the beam to insert itself into the corporeal substance of the wood. Both substance and meaning are inserted together, locked in place, fighting perhaps to remain interlocked or to separate.
“Cat’s Paw” consists of a crumpled, yellow spray-coated steel beam topped with a black disc shape. This sculpture is bent over and partially around a large piece of found steel, as rough and scarred as the beam is smooth. The meaning of the title, “a person who is used by another, typically to carry out an unpleasant or dangerous task” seems to refer to the found steel, which has been used, perhaps by the sinuous contortions of the yellow beam, which may or may not represent what can be surmised: sleek corporate America using whatever means necessary to achieve its goals. Regardless, here we have discord, here we have existence locked in a counterbalance.
Bove’s “Here We Are Again” is a 12 by 12 stainless steel grid, through which one can observe the world. It divides, it conquers. It creates new visual space through which the artist’s other works here and the world around them can be observed and bisected.
The internationally renowned artist has works exhibited indoors as well, including a powerful mix of molten, melted shapes and clean, crisp pillar and post in “Small Bronze Sculpture,” the swirling sea of “B & W Ink Print,” and the dense, hot weave of “Fifth Pink Sweater Painting,” which while created of acrylic on canvas practically vibrates with the fuzz of a literal sweater.
Contrasting and pairing nicely with Bove’s work is that of Nate Lowman, whose large scale “Untitled,”mixed media on canvas dropcloth, depicts America. But not necessarily the America you think you know. Here you find splotches, fissures, colors, shadows, a map of the soul as well as the land. Each state’s soiled cloth is somehow particularly strong as a metaphor today: in this political climate we are a dropcloth of our own American vision, splatters from another time. A dream space as much as a map, it contrasts with the artist’s playful mixed media installation of “TBT,” a collection of elements, some flora and fauna-like, others sexualized, all that have a subversive yet whimsical throwback feel in terms of palette and form.
Also on exhibit are a series of oil, alkyd and impasto medium on linen monochrome works that appear to be created as if from the perspective of the moon looking at a partial view of earth. With this as the setting, a series of words define each work, “Son Also Rises, “Tae Kwan Do,” “For Ever Ever.” These are words as meteors, crashing onto the planet, space junk and mind candy.
The over-riding impression of both solo exhibitions is of the meaning behind the forms: what have we done, where have we been, where are we headed? As always, the responses depend on the beholder.
Maccarone is located at 300 S. Mission Road in DTLA.