Christopher Miles, Jefferson Gene Lee Philip Duval, 2013

New Sculpture at Torrance Art Museum
by Kristen Osborne-Bartucca ·
September 30, 2014 · in reviews

Twenty miles outside of Los Angeles there happens to be one of the best shows of the
season. “Another Thing Coming,” the Torrance Art Museum’s group show of new
sculpture from 15 Los Angeles-based artists is a remarkably successful and compelling

Shirley Tse, Quantum Shirley Series: Mongolian Chapter: Joseph Beuys, 2014
At first glance, the dominant observation is the diversity of spatial placement, materials
and emotions conveyed. Some artists use the traditional plinth associated with
sculpture (Ashley Landrum’s geometric shapes of honeycomb paper and Tanya
Batura’s eerie, smooth carvings of eyes and bald heads sit atop them). Others mount
their work on the wall, hang it from the ceiling, or scatter it across the floor, like Shirley
Tse’s fantastic collection of sinuous chains draped from music stands with molded
balls of various materials, Pattern is in the Eye of Beholder. Most of the pieces are
roughly human-sized—Christopher Miles’s funky Giacomo Gonzo Gruffalo Grendel
Ganesha soars over our heads. Others still are tiny, precious; several of Eve Wood’s
pieces, such as Doppelganger and Flock, are delicate works attached to the wall. (Full
disclosure, Eve Wood is a writer for Artillery.) Anna Sew Hoy’s Psychic Grotto V is a
diminutive, open structure of twisted stoneware that sits on the floor, about a foot high.
The materials are also incredibly varied; there is yarn, ceramics, wood, actual
doors, paper, a guitar, tree branches and more. Some works are humorous,
while others are somber. Final Translation, another work by Eve Wood, mixed a

few pieces of her recently deceased dog’s hair with her own in a clear plastic
model of a human heart; the result is deeply affecting.

Eve Wood, Flock, 2014

That focus on the personal and emotional unites many of the artists featured. All of
these artists know their sculptural roots, yet they feel free to acknowledge their
forbearers and then add their own twist. Another highlight is Mary Hill’s I want to pick it
up in my hand, I want to peel the skin off. Hill references Barnett Newman’s famous
minimalist sculpture Broken Obelisk, featuring the sleek, phallic symbol toppled over
and lying prone on the floor. Small, handcrafted ceramic fruits in shiny, lush colors
perch atop and next to the obelisk as if they felled it and are rejoicing over their
conquest—the feminine and the organic are victorious over the masculine and the
industrial. Similarly, Shiva Aliabadi borrows liberally from Eva Hesse in Spindle, which
features long pieces of yarn trailing onto the floor from wooden spindles hammered
into the wall, but with a bit more messiness in the paint that coats the yarn and then
dots the floor.

Anna Sew Hoy, Psychic Grotto V, 2014

There is a heavy debt to surrealism, as with Woods’s tiny branches glued to old-
fashioned wallpaper in a glass box—some odd curio from a moldy mansion—and

Batura’s globulous mound of eyeballs. Miles draws from the California funk scene,
fashioning his painted paper and aluminum sculptures into shapes that defy
categorization. Noah Thomas’ Blow, a painted web of tree branches, is like a Calder
mobile, hanging low to the ground and moving softly in the gallery breeze.

Noah Thomas, Blow, 2013

These sculptures are emotive, expressive and referential, celebrating the handmade
and the craft, the organic and the playful. With most pieces scaled to human size or
smaller, the viewing experience becomes more intimate.

Mary Hill, I want to pick it up in my hand; I want to peel the skin off (for Barnett and Judy), 2014 (detail)
“Another Thing Coming” emphatically makes a case for object-based sculpture’s
fecundity and relevance as a vehicle for personal and collective meaning. These 15
artists demonstrate how contemporary sculpture may be indebted to and in dialogue
with the past, but is firmly rooted in the experience of the present, with a focus on the
process of making meaningful art in a fast-paced, hostile and technology-obsessed
world. Curators Lisa DeSmidt, Max Presneill and Chris Reynolds put together a truly
engaging look at what Los Angeles sculptors are creating in their studios today. It’s
worth the 20 miles to travel to see this exceptional show on sculpture today.

“Another Thing Coming: New Sculpture in Los Angeles”

Torrance Art Museum

August 23-October 18, 2014