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Art Review

March 20, 1998|LEAH OLLMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Humorous Order: Timothy Nolan is a Minimalist with a sense of humor. He exercises stringent discipline in his work, but not as an end in itself. Instead, order and repetition at times make for a sublime visual spectacle and, at the very least, a fun retinal buzz.

"Trim," the title piece of his show at Newspace, consists of two tall panels (98 inches high) of galvanized metal whose grill-like surface has been woven through with white satin ribbon. The result is a terrific fusion of opposites, as the hard, masculine-associated industrial material consorts with the soft, feminine and domestic one.

The ritualized handwork of weaving characterizes all of the wall pieces, which buckle and warp like tapestries. Nolan repeats the format throughout the show, varying the width of the ribbon, the grid pattern of the armature and the size and orientation of the works.

Just when the formula starts to feel exhausted, he extends and invigorates it through a dazzling floor piece called "Settle," made by dusting a mixture of baking soda, baking powder and glitter into a pattern of nearly 100 precise squares. Like Rachel Lachowicz's remakes in lipstick of the macho icons of Minimalism, Nolan turns inside-out Carl Andre's zinc and magnesium floor tiles of the late 1960s, replacing their permanence with transience, their hard density with ephemeral dust, their matte dullness with a glimmering delicacy. As transitory as "Settle" is, its spunky, subversive spirit makes an impact that can't be swept away with a stroke of the broom.

*

* Newspace, 5241 Melrose Ave., (213) 469-9353, through March 28.

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