Not rocks

tuckerumJonathan Tucker‘s exibit of rock-like shapes and stringy extrusions at Esther M. Klein Art Gallery feel like they ought to be hilarious (left, “Um”).

The rock-oids have a clunky, clown-like quality and jolly, lovely colors that make them anti-rocks. They’re spotted with M&M dots and drilled with holes filled with glop or nothingness.

They are the antithesis of Vija Celmins‘ rocks, that look like rocks and yet aren’t rocks and which raise all kinds of issues about reality and imitation and purpose and perfection.

tuckeruntitledTucker’s rocks stick to eachother with the help of the extrusions and other rocks (right, untitled).

The extrusions, which give the illusion of coming straight out of a paint or toothpaste tube have a whimsical quality that brings to mind body parts and onion domes and chewing gum and cartoons.

friedmangumBut unlike Tom Friedman‘s chewing gum (which is the real thing yet which alludes to so many other things besides materiality–bodies and bodily functions, existence, reality, for instance), Tucker’s pieces stay in the world of art and illusion without enough allusion to a larger meaning (left, Friedman’s untitled piece made of 1,500 pieces of chewed chewing gum stuck between two walls).

While I smiled as I looked at the 10 sculptures and several drawings in Tucker’s “Painted Forms” exhibit, I got stuck thinking thoughts about marshmallow fluff; wax; landscape versus figure and portrait; and paint and color.

I enjoyed the show, but I didn’t come away wanting to give it more thought or to re-imagine the work in my mind’s eye.

Tucker’s recent exhibitions include Gregory Lind Gallery, Elizabeth Harris Gallery, Lombard Fried Gallery, and White Columns. He is based in New York.