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Ron Nagle at Matthew Marks
April 21, 2023 - June 10, 2023
Ron Nagle infuses his small-scale sculptures and drawings on paper with a curious allure that’s at once otherworldly (in its unexpected shapes and colors) and familiar (with nods to Brutalist architecture and the Japanese aesthetic philosophy of shibui). Each of the artist’s 18 sculptures are under seven inches in size, but their cheeky titles and charming presence make them feel larger than life. Stucco-like textures evoke the exteriors of buildings, while offbeat shapes and intimate sizes feel more aligned with interior spaces.
Nagle’s sculptures use a mix of traditional and non-traditional materials like porcelain, ceramic, catalyzed polyurethane, and epoxy resin. Pieces like Hot Tub Allegations (2022) use all four. The work presents the corner of a room with black, glimmering stucco walls with a midnight-blue sludge seeping down from where the ceiling would be. A putty-colored blob with a small opening stands just off-center. It feels like the inside of an apartment, but could also be a diorama from the set of a sci-fi film; with Nagle, you tend to get a little of both. The same goes for his untitled graphite and pastel drawings that read like renderings of possible future sculptures — a whimsical sneak peek of what’s to come.
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Photo: Hot Tub Allegations (2022), ©Ron Nagle, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery