Five works dated this year or last constituted the sixth solo exhibition at Team for the midcareer New York-based sculptor Ross Knight. Consisting of dissimilar components conjoined in curious, arresting configurations, they are primarily imagistic rather than spatial. They relate to the assemblage tradition but avoid using any conspicuously found objects. The artist triggers corporeal associations by maneuvering the icky tactility of plastic and metal, emphasizing how they touch: by being propped, draped, stuffed, wrapped or resting lightly on each other. In the gallery’s squeaky-clean, brightly lit Wooster Street location, the work came off well: theatrical, antic, slightly absurd.
Typically, Knight does not permit his works’ constituent elements to become entirely integrated. At over 6 feet high, Skin to Weight balances a loose bundle of stiff, cream-colored rawhide on a slender steel rod topped with an iron disk. The T shape these materials form is as tenuous physically as visually; it looks like a stiff breeze would send the cow skin flying.
The phallic, 3-foot-high Swell is a cylinder of slick, whitish polyethylene from the top of which protrudes a small, clear cellophane bag containing blobs of milky silicone. Hmmm. Double Prop features a similar cylinder, this one supporting a foam pillow at waist height surmounted by an orange urethane object resembling an enlarged section of pelvic bone. Those two elements’ delicate contact is the work’s focal point, but it’s unclear whether the rigid plastic touches the cushy foam or is suspended just above it by a gawky, angular metal structure.
The show’s largest and most formally unified piece, perversely titled Part, consists of a deeply wrinkled, bright- white membrane of industrial shrink- wrap stretched around some but not all of a boxy, 8 1/2-foot-high steel armature painted magenta; protruding from below is a many-wheeled but useless-looking conveyer rail. Part is a visual pun, volumetrically massive but flimsy, hollow. Placed in a corner of the gallery space, too close to the wall for viewers to walk comfortably around it, the sculpture looked a bit lost and forlorn, like a dis- used piece of manufacturing equipment.
In Cord, a spindly wooden sawhorse painted fluorescent yellow supports a plank of polyethylene across which a wad of pink silicone is stretched like a rope and tethered at each end to an iron counterweight. Whether the silicone will lengthen over time is hard to tell in one viewing, but it’s easy to read Cord as a spoof of the process-oriented works for which artists like Richard Serra and Robert Morris became known.
The exhibition’s title, “Situations,” is just right: too visually dynamic to read as static objects, too fragmentary to be proper constructions in the tradition of, say, David Smith, the works bring unlike items to bear upon one another, to dubious ends. Their incongruity yields comedy. The show’s title also suggests transience, a scenario in an ongoing narrative, an episode, a predicament, a sense of cause and effect.Photo: Ross Knight: Double Prop, 2011, steel, polyethylene, urethane, lead, foam pillow, 56 by 40 by 15 inches; at Team.