At Primetime Gallery, a pint-sized art space in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, Dmitri Hertz and Alex DeCarli have assembled a two-man show featuring six individual sculptures, plus a collaborative collage and window display. The six objects on the floor of the small room are arranged with an emphasis on compositional balance and symmetry that activates the entire space. DeCarli’s offerings– which include a humanoid mask flattened into a vitrine, an upright post made of differentiated glued wood shavings, and a pair of hiking socks mysteriously suspended by a plume of cement—emphasize organic form and a probing expressionist vision. While Hertz, with his three sculptures, strikes an even balance between conceptual wholeness and personal touch. He explores the possibilities of shape, texture, and function, while paradoxical relationships between materiality and the artist’s labor are gradually revealed.
Hertz’s “Icosahedron Heater” is a twenty-sided form made of a single sheet of galvanized metal with a heating element hidden inside. Like a conventional home appliance, the sculpture is hot to the touch. Because of its 20 perfect equilateral sides the Icosahedron is considered a perfect shape by mathematicians, but as a heating unit it becomes an exercise in absurdity. The Icosahedron was constructed using origami techniques pointing at another strange relationship between ritualistic paper folding and the more uncanny task of bending and bolting heavy metal.
The “Dead Snake” looks like a piece of driftwood but began as a traditional 10ft long 2x4in wood plank. It was rubbed and sanded until it became wavy and smooth. The length of wood rests on a small piece of black obsidian–a stone traditionally used for arrowheads. Hertz points out that “The stone represents a human age of both chaos and ingenuity, once utilitarian and now useless.”
The contrast of use and uselessness, or the idea of failed functionality is also a theme in “Cache”. This clamshell shaped cement form opens up but doesn’t close. Each half of the shell is layered and textured, punctuated by common stones and built up slowly in a process Hertz describes as “painterly”. The ground on which the shell rests is a trompe l’oeil patch of moss convincingly made from green enamel on a doormat. It is unclear what this cache is meant to catch; possibly it’s a place for art ideas—some of them stick while others dissolve into thin air.