Soaring forms and electric surfaces challenge our understanding of perspective and symmetry with an exciting outcome.
A new kinetic work by Hodges towers over viewers. Courtesy the artist and Utopia Art Sydney
Subtlety of form is balanced by intense surface attention across this new group of sculptures by Sydney artist Christopher Hodges.
Walking into Utopia Art Space the gallery resonates with a minimal zing, what some might call spartan and others a kind of spatial Haiku.
The surfaces are surprisingly electric; zips like a Tokyo skyline layered and illuminous. They activate the clean stainless steel silhouettes, bostering their weight and their depth. It is a curious spatial play, and one that Hodges has spent years mastering.
It is this illusion of depth that is this exhibition’s success. The bases, in particular, are more consciously and constructively worked with an angle grinder, handled with a kind of abstract expressionist verve. The mechanical gestures become painterly, and seemingly hover off the surface. It's delightfully perplexing.
Surface detail of Hodge's sculptures.
This exhibition pushes and pulls in many ways.
While some works are extremely elegant in the way they command the space – collectively engaged and speaking to the positive and negatives like a slow dance or visual seduction - other pieces sat slightly off that mark.
A huge kinetic piece (pictured top) dominates the exhibition, heavy but not monumental. Surface, form, scale, movement – there is a lot going on.
One can’t help think of the teetering quality of American sculpture George Rickey’s needles as a counter point. But then this is not American sculpture, and it perhaps has the robustness of our own landscape. Such criticisms would evaporate when placed on site.
Installation view Balance, Utopia Art Sydney (2014); Courtesy the artist and Utopia Art Sydney
The most stunning grouping is a trilogy of powdercoated matt black forms – Mona Lisa, Black Swan and A Crooked Man. The same form cut from a single sheet of metal, then simply inverted or rotated. They loom and lunge and, as viewers standing well below their height, we begins to "feel" the title of this exhibition – balance.
Drawing is very close to these sculptures, and they flesh out a very individual vocabulary. Hodges mark is confident, and has the assurance of continued investigation into the equations of symmetry and proportion.
Hodges said in the gallery’s statement on the show: ‘To create balance within a sculpture you need to have every element sitting in harmony... I’m seeking a refinement of form so that it can speak freely and truly.’
This is an exhibition that challenges our own engagement with sculpture.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Christopher Hodges: Balance
Utopia Art Sydney
Danks Street, Waterloo (Sydney)
30 August – 20 September 2014
To view the exhibition catalogue.