Review: Tony Feher, "Next on Line"
Feher's sculptures say a lot with very little.
Fri Jan 28 2011
Photographs: G.R. Christmas, Courtesy The Pace Gallery, Tony Feher
Some of What I've Come to Know
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
Not much is going on in Tony Feher's current show, which, all things considered, isn't so bad. For more than two decades, the artist has been wowing the critical establishment by creating utterly engaging, light-on-their-feet sculptures out of quotidian "non-art" materials like plastic water bottles, tin cans, garbage bags and—something of a Feher signature—brightly colored water (tinted with food coloring). This show finds him working in a more pared-down, Minimalist vein, employing little more than clear vinyl tubing and water, both colored and clear. It's a masterful, if not terribly happy effort overall, Feher opting for effects more monumental, institutional, austere.
All the works are Untitled; all feature a single color. The "blue" sculpture employs some 200 feet of tubing filled with azure liquid that forms pretty, calligraphic curlicues across the floor. The "green" one is much the same. The best, the "red," has a more affecting, Felix Gonzalez-Torres--like aura about it, with crimson-colored tubing collecting into a tangled heap, like a blood transfusion gone awry.
What saves the pieces from slipping into an overtly pretty sort of formalism is Feher's ingenious method for installing them: He simply clamps each tube shut with a single binder clip and secures it to Pace's pristine white walls with one clear plastic pushpin.
What if those pushpins were to pop free? Or the clips to slip? Feher still says a lot with very little; here, the message seems to be about the brevity of life. Or perhaps, if you're feeling optimistic, hanging on.
The Pace Gallery, through Feb 12