Critical Mass

Monday, December 1, 2014

Some notes on Critical Mass; a sculpture by David Robinson, in collaboration with Landscape Architect Paul Sangha.

"My own conception of and affinity for this work is the way it troubles two polarized aesthetic orthodoxies; namely those of abstract minimalism and figuration.

To the eyes of generations raised on the Corten and stainless-steel sculptural offerings of Richard Serra, David Smith, and their aesthetic descendants, ‘the figure’ appears alien to ‘the sculpture’.  Representation, we forget, was the thing, pattern and archetype, from which we first set out to make abstractions.  What, after all, are those massive tectonic forms without we ourselves, to walk bodily among them, selflessly lending context and thus meaning to their mere grandeur?

And this work Critical Mass assumes no clear winner to the contest; neither the bronze ‘heroic’ figure nor its abstracted and toppling Corten fellows can attain any solid footing; all is at stake; all is in flux.

Far from disaster, we may choose instead to read this as the collapse of a stifling impasse – a remediation of lost ground:  When figuration per se lies chronically exhausted in a heap of its own recurring affectations, and abstraction per se has run its course to the point of utter negation, there is very little by way of solid footing left for the sculptor to navigate.   My work in general, and in this instance in particular, has been to test and try to discern if there may not be some toehold still available; some available ground left, upon which to stand."