"Soft Wax: Adam Crosson"
Adam Crosson melds history and architecture in a solo exhibition that rewards the studious eye
Reviewed by Caitlin Greenwood, Fri., Feb. 13, 2015
"Soft Wax: Adam Crosson"Pump Project, 702 Shady
Through February 28
Contemporary reconstructions of World War II anti-tank measures meet photographs of London meet studies of light in Adam Crosson's "Soft Wax." Make no mistake: This is an incredibly dense exhibition, and Crosson asks a lot of his audience with the many subtle details embedded in the work here. But if you put in the time to study the individual pieces and the exhibition as a whole, you'll be greatly rewarded with a true conceptual wonder.
Architecture enthusiasts will notice the study's influence on Crosson's work. His sharp lines and focus on structure find inclusion in almost every piece on display. A graduate of the University of Arkansas' architecture program, Crosson admittedly has worked to compromise the fundamentals of his building background with his imaginative and often experimental work by breaking some of architecture's cardinal rules. It's a tension that works to Crosson's advantage. His work not only bears the mark of strong form but also creates a well-designed exhibition space for Pump Project's main gallery.
Crosson's Czech Hedgehog stands at the heart of the gallery. His recreation of the defense device of the same name is composed of fluorescent light fixtures. It's a nod to notable contemporary artists such as Dan Flavin and Chul Hyun Ahn that still feels like a uniquely powerful statement from Crosson. Like the architectural touches, light plays a part in much of "Soft Wax." The photographs Occidental Geometries, Greenwich Foot Tunnel and Occidental Geometries, Whitechapel Lane both depict light sources that sit just slightly out of frame. It's a soft complement to the overt brightness of the aforementioned Hedgehog and serve to illuminate distinctly personalized moments against the detached and impersonal nature of Crosson's sculptures.
Crosson's two cement-based structures sit at opposite ends of the gallery and seem to physically anchor the space. One Leg to Stand On, a combination of plaster, cement, and steel rods with custom hardware, was a prototype from when Crosson first imagined making a Czech hedgehog. The upright sculpture holds the exact measurements of the actual anti-tank obstacle, another one of the thoughtful details that Crosson peppers throughout the show. 21B, however, carries a story specific to itself. Crosson remarks that it was, in fact, this piece that helped inform the work that was to become "Soft Wax." 21B depicts a soft cushion crafted out of cement, copper pipe, and washers. Using a folded acetate mold, its cement ripples create a perfect portrait of the cushions on an airplane seat slouched against the gallery wall. It is a piece that communicates Crosson's humor in shrewd fashion and offers a smart way to close out "Soft Wax" as a whole.
Crosson undeniably puts a lot on the table with "Soft Wax," but it's a show that expertly intertwines a historical narrative with a contemporary aesthetic.