SAN DIEGO — Parameters 8, the downtown site run by the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, is exhibiting three works that truly merit the epithet "tough." Parameters 8 is next to the Inside contemporary design gallery at 715 8th Ave.
The sculptures by Boston-based artist Jeffrey Schiff are fabricated in a variety of natural and industrial materials. They look like industrially produced objects, but inasmuch as they are they are non-utilitarian forms, they divert the mode of production to art.
"Scribe" consists of a rectangle of gray industrial felt, about 7 by 10 feet, attached to a wall by six bolts. Close to the left-hand side below midpoint hangs a 3-foot length of steel with a 1-foot projecting handle. With it, the artist has inscribed an arc (nearly a full circle) on the wall and the felt. That's all, except for some white plaster dust on the floor as a memento of the process.
For all its directness, the piece is not aggressive but engaging. It recalls the works in felt made two decades ago by sculptor Robert Morris--without, however, their voluptuous and erotically charged forms.
The visual and tactile seductiveness of the felt is a counterpoint to the chaste geometry of the composition--a rectangle, an arc, a line and six points.
"Vat" is an unpolished steel drum sitting on six T-shaped legs. From the drum's bottom extrude six pipe vents at midpoints between (and, of course, above) the legs. Yellow beeswax covers the bottom of the drum in a pattern like that of sand shaped by the wind. Its sweet perfume, now faint, is still perceptible and a little intoxicating. Fingers of the beeswax were allowed to flow into the pipe vents but arrested before dripping from their ends.
From the vantage of the floor, you can see the rhythm of the legs and vents and, through the vents, a dazzling, golden chamber.
"Forge II" is a low, coarse but elegant, rectangular wood structure (like a small bench) that contains a rectangle of rough lead crossed by a large steel pin with which the artist beat the lead while it was still hot. His marks show man's work like scars on the naturally rough and iridescent surface of the metal. The fragrance of the charred wood is an olfactory residue of the process.
With minimal means in a small space, Schiff has created an exhibition of great beauty in which poetry complementarily vies with intelligence.
This important and instructive exhibition continues through March 22.
A selection of the "Works on Lead" by Michael Golino recently exhibited at the Anuska Galerie downtown may be seen at the Gustaf Anders restaurant in La Jolla (2182 Avenida de la Playa).
Golino's abstract wall constructions and the environment are mutually enhancing.
The exhibition, one of an ongoing series curated by artist Reese Shaw, continues through April 10.
The Knowles Gallery in La Jolla (7420 Girard Ave.) is exhibiting "Picasso's Women and Other Works" by Linda Janon.
In these colorful, decorative works, the artist has copied the forms of the master without, however, emulating his spirit.
Her "Other Works," from a series on Jewish life and legend, similarly owe much to Marc Chagall.
The exhibition continues through March 10.