Jason Meadows’ new work at Marc Foxx Gallery gamely attempts to engage pressing social and political situations today. Three large recent sculptures and a painted wall relief try different tactics with uneven results.
Least successful is “Justice League,” which collides red and blue folded fans alluding to the flying capes of cartoon superheroes. They stand atop a precariously tilting pedestal of the sort on which a politician’s conventional statue might be erected. The adaptation of grandiose red-state, blue-state, right-left political conflict is too schematic to be effective, while an implied narrative of volatile collapse seems overly melodramatic.
Far more engaging is “The Day After,” a sleek yet vaguely ominous pair of opposing, gun-metal gray cylinders fitted into a mechanistic structure and adorned with shrieking strips of yellow and purple caution-tape. As elegant and poised as a space-defining assembly of geometric forms by Sir Anthony Caro, it simultaneously reads as a repository for dangerous if unspecified material — say, nuclear waste. The formal rigor of Meadows’ abstract sculpture seems to slowly dissolve like a sugar cube in water, as if it were a mysterious ancient artifact of some lost civilization — namely, ours — newly found and spiffed up for museum display.