New York, 555 West 24th Street
In his first New York exhibition in a decade, the Los Angeles-based artist Robert Therrien presents his startling sculptures at full scale, filling Gagosian Gallery’s spacious 24th street location with chunks of interiors sliced out from obscure narratives. Ambiguity is an important thread in Therrien’s practice that expands to set design, architecture, and painting, while overall building meticulous installations of rooms, some familiar and some foreign. The artist, who is known for his impossibly large domestic objects such as tables, chairs or even plates, utilizes mundane objects into his practice, yet presents them in unrecognizable scales and scenarios.
In his current exhibition, a group of freestanding rooms take the center stage. No title (paneled room), for example, is a life-size room stuck inside an enormous box elevated from the floor. Dark, varnished wood covering the walls of this pristine room hints traces of bourgeois taste; however, a pile of tambourines randomly sitting on the floor and ladders leading up to a door on the ceiling complicate the coherency of the narrative. Limiting the viewer perception by offering a single perspective to observe his interiors, Therrien challenges his audience to produce various versions of the real incident taking place.
“In his practice, household shapes become unfamiliar, colors appear simple yet indistinguishably enigmatic, and references to known things are evoked and then deliberately blurred. His modestly sized, exquisitely hand-wrought early sculptures are minimal, simplified shapes abstracted from reality, and his later works, despite their industrialized and imposing presence, can also be readily identified as having a basis in real life. Large in scale, highly fabricated, and often distorted, they become less real even as they are more recognizable,” reads the press release of a 2013 survey of Therrien’s work at the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY.
The exhibition runs through May 26, 2017