A maze-like construction of wooden two-by-fours fills the main gallery of “Smoke Signals: Sculpting in Time,” William Cordova’s third solo exhibition at Sikkema Jenkins. Around the periphery of the structure, one encounters a multitude of artworks including Polaroids, earth-toned drawings produced with Peruvian cacao, and a large geometric collage made with colorful paint chips arranged in a pattern inspired by ancient feather wall hangings from Peru, the country where Cordova was born.
Visitors who enter the structure, a form which was originally conceived for the 2016 SITE Santa Fe biennial, encounter untitled san martin de porres o’papa candela (2014–15), a small sculpture made by applying a coffee stain to a flattened cardboard box. The title refers to the patron saint of mixed-race people, a figure with special significance for practitioners of Santería. The installation suggests the artist’s intense research and ambition to meld histories and cultures. The sources underpinning the works on view include the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, Aztec ruins, Latin American geometric abstraction, and Robert Rauschenberg’s art. —Lindsay Pollock
Pictured: William Cordova: can’t stop, won’t stop (whipala or KRS1), 2016–17, mixed media collage, 81 by 146 inches. Courtesy Sikkema Jenkins, New York.