Big Four With a Singular Purpose

December 3, 2010 | Sharon Mizota

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.

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.

Los Angeles Time, 2010