Ad Reinhardt’s famous trashing of sculpture — it’s what you bump into while backing up from a painting, he said — seems today rather quaint and dogmatic. Since Cubism, flat art has increasingly obtruded into real space, and bumpy art (to use sculptor Joe Hawley’s term) has assumed pictorial, illusionistic qualities. In today’s stylistic free-for-all, the distinction is often irrelevant. 2-D/3-D features the work of five artists — Mari Andrews, Jessica Martin, and Lucrecia Troncoso from the Bay Area; David McDonald from LA; and Aurora Robson from NY — who explore both modes in various proportions.
Andrews’ wire constructions read like drawings by Klee or Miro, or X-rays or diagrams, materialized in real space. “Eye” and “Glass” feature twig-like symmetrical wire armatures over which a paper skin has been stretched, suggesting kites, early airplanes, and clothing patterns. “Apocoil,” named after a cable storage system, is a wall-mounted wire piece that resembles brickwork or hopscotch grids spiraling down a drain, or a labyrinth, adorned with exclamatory acorn finial, or light bulbs. Martin’s mixed-media works on paper (“Untitled (bronze)”) or canvas (“Wait a Moment. Calm”) suggest with their blooms of ink and their painted, threaded leaves, a benign, domesticated nature. Her small wax-and-hot-glue “Imaginary Object” sculptures exude refinement and delicacy. Troncoso takes a conceptual approach in “Fireflies,” four large sheets of yellow painted paper hung behind a spray of white Christmas tree lights (illuminated, but not flashing), and “Immortal,” ten twelve-by-twelve-inch monochrome paintings paired with framed four-by-four-inch matching colored papers (presumably printed).
McDonald writes, “My visual memory and sense of place are fragmentary and so is my work. It is an accumulation of fragments and pieces that I try to bring together to form a unified whole.” His wooden sculpture, “Ikebukuro,” composed of hundreds of pieces of wood stacked, Jenga-style, into two leg-like towers atop an unpainted wooden base, suggests that even its bustling Tokyo-neighborhood namesake is ramshackle and contingent. Robson practices a kind of environmental social art, converting consumer-society dross into art gold: “Opening up the mail and finding … garbage … is now a pleasant experience.” While collage drawings like “Active Ingredient” are witty and elegant, her “globular, knotted” sculpture, “Peoria,” a jellyfish-like transfiguration of recycled (and sterilized) plastic bottles and monofilament, induces giddiness; an installation of such works would be a sight to behold (though not, perhaps, in any Pacific Ocean Art Preserve). Purists will rejoice that Robson manages to use “every part of the bottle.” 2-D/3-D runs through September 18 at Traywick Contemporary (895 Colusa Ave., Berkeley). 510-527-1214 or Traywick.com