Acclaimed contemporary sculptor Ron Nagle is well-known for his perfectly crafted and highly curious objects – most measuring no larger than 5 inches. His latest work is on view at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York through October 23rd in an exhibition titled “Necessary Obstacles“.
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The exhibition features eighteen new sculptures, meticulously hand-crafted by Nagle in his San Francisco studio. Each is a combination of material and techniques, including clay, catalyzed polyurethane, epoxy resin, and wood.
The physical magnetism in Ron’s work (I dare you not to lean closer) results from two qualities. The first is the absolute and unbelievable perfectionism of hand-craftsmanship. Art critic Dave Hickey once rightfully compared Nagle to the famous jeweler Fabrergé, “[if he had] loved hot rods and surfboards”.
The second entrancing trait is the empty stage-like quality of each form. Though tiny, they somehow radiate the feeling of a Broadway stage before an actor arrives, tense with anticipation and a million possibilities. The effect is the viewer’s own imagination filling that “stage”, daydreaming into the depths of wonder and curiosity.
The titles are worth noting. Nagle also has a talent for creating maximum wonder with limited words in his titles, too, from “Shadow Knocker” to “The Whisperer”.
Nagle’s work is something that you watch more than you see. The forms feel like they could move at any moment if you just watch longer.
I highly recommend checking out the gallery’s online viewing page to view more works, detail images, and a short video of Nagle in his studio. If you’re in New York, visit the Matthew Marks Gallery through October 23rd and spend more time than you planned.
What: Ron Nagle: Necessary Obstacles
Where: Matthew Marks Gallery, 523 W 24th St, New York, New York
When: September 11 – October 23, 2021
All images courtesy of the artist & Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.