American sculptor Roxy Paine has long been exploring the interaction between the human and natural worlds. Through his work, he exposes the chaos that comes from mankind’s continued attempt to impose its will on nature. A new dual exhibit in Manhattan, held concurrently at two of Paul Kasmin’s Chelsea galleries, highlights recent works by the artist that encapsulate his 25 years of exploration regarding this enduring conflict between the natural and the manmade.
“Farewell Transmission” presents two dramatically different series, Dioramas and Dendroids, both of which express the artist’s anxieties about man’s impact on the earth. Dendroids features organic forms, including trees, flowers and fungi, which the artist has fused with manmade structures and materials like epoxy, polymer and stainless steel, creating a range of silver-colored, almost supernatural sculptures. By inventing and distorting, Paine confounds the viewer’s perception of what’s real and what’s artificial, calling into question some of man’s most basic beliefs.
In his chilling Dioramas – a format more traditionally used in science and history museums – Paine offers three large installations that appear to depict a meeting room (“Meeting”), a bedroom that’s under observation (“Experiment”) and “Desolation Row,” which resembles charred embers. “Experiment” is inspired by the government’s experiments on the effects of LSD, back in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, while “Meeting” is a portrayal of a 12-step program with humans conspicuously absent. The sculptor uses visual tricks to make the first two installations appear life-sized, altering the viewer’s sense of perception. And “Desolation Row,” powerful and poignant, is the artist’s ultimate statement on the destructive capacity of humankind.
“Farewell Transmission” runs until July 1 at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York.