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Santa Monica

December 18, 1987|COLIN GARDNER

Robert Hudson's painted sculptures are almost synonymous with the Bay Area funk-assemblage tradition. Wry and witty in their effortless balance of formal and material paradox, Hudson's works have been seen as a unique fusion of neo-Dada, junk eccentrism and "be-bop" Surrealism.

In his first Los Angeles solo exhibition since 1969, Hudson presents a series of static and kinetic pieces that offer few surprises yet confirm his continued mastery at orchestrating seemingly chaotic elements into coherent, almost monumental compositions.

The huge "Woman in the Moon," for example, features a cantilevered support anchored by an interlocking agglomeration of geometric forms. This in turn holds up a rotating steel hoop that envelops a pair of antique statues of swim-suited girls, joined base-to-base.

That such a grandiose structure should be used to hoist such useless bric-a-brac is typical of Hudson. In a way, his work is closely analogous to Mr. Toad's wild ride to nowhere in particular, a mad adventure that, although always pleasurable, distinctly lacks the profound human insight one might find in a William Wiley or Robert Arneson. (Dorothy Goldeen Gallery, 1547 9th St., to Dec. 31.)

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