Arts & Culture » Arts

In the Galleries - B. Wurtz CLOSES October 20 at White Flag



B. Wurtz The material vocabulary of New York-based artist B. Wurtz's sculpture (exhibited at White Flag Projects in a retrospective going all the way back to 1970) goes something like this: wire, metal, plastic bags, tin cans, pushpins, wood. In one piece, situated in the gallery's light-flooded atrium, raw wood dowels elevate a bouquet of wires, upon which buoyantly dangle upturned blue plastic bags. The assemblage rests on a swath of rough canvas painted with a green circle around the central dowel and a larger orange circle painted around the green one. Like all of Wurtz's work, this is an exercise in near-absurdist cause and effect, combining plainspoken found elements with a miraculous sleight of hand that results in — presto! — sculpture of strange, classical dignity. Rube Goldberg-esque potential is abundant, as though all of the pieces in the show could at any moment disassemble, bend and roll, like some slapstick fever dream or brilliant vintage Bugs Bunny cartoon. That sense of limitless possibility for whimsy seems to be inherent in the constructions themselves: Every material intersection has potential for another — as though there's always room for one more (final) intimate gesture. To appreciate Wurtz's work is to take part in a celebration of the process of thought itself, in all its swirling illogic: one decision leading to another, sequence after sequence building to an intimation of inevitability. Through October 20 at White Flag Projects, 4568 Manchester Avenue; 314-531-3442 or Hours: noon-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat.

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