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Review: Jennifer Pastor's works invite careful contemplation

Critic's Choice

April 18, 2013|By David Pagel
  • Jennifer Pastor, "Endless Arena," 2013, electroless nickel-plated steel and painted fiberglass.
Jennifer Pastor, "Endless Arena," 2013, electroless nickel-plated… (Fredrik Nilsen )

At a time when technology seems to be all about getting more people to see more images more quickly and clearly than ever before, Jennifer Pastor’s “Endless Arena” comes across as a wonderfully nutty throwback to a bygone era.

The spindly sculpture, in a small back gallery at Regen Projects, resembles nothing so much as the armature for some kind of homegrown experiment or the framework for an ad-hoc stage set.

It’s both and more. But you won’t know that if you don’t look closely. And slowly.

Pastor has no interest in quick reads, trendy gimmicks or convictions that take shape in the blink of an eye. To see what she’s up to you must engage in a painstaking exercise of compare and contrast, studying the slight but significant differences between and among the four sculptural reliefs her steel structure supports.

Each depicts a pair of wrestlers, their limbs entangled as they grapple for dominance. It’s impossible to determine chronological sequence, or to even know if more than one moment is depicted.

The all-or-nothing drama of victory and defeat is suspended by “Endless Arena,” as is our tendency to treat complex social issues as win-or-lose gambits that are resolved with decisive finality.

Doubt drifts into the picture Pastor’s sculpture paints in the mind’s eye. Evoking such unlikely precedents as Thomas Eakins and Eadweard Muybridge, her quietly exciting piece prefers the mysteriousness of the real thing to the hollow certainty of prepackaged reality.

Regen Projects, 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., (310) 276-5424, through May 11. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.regenprojects.com

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