Sunday, October 13, 2013

Borgerding at Callan; Odem at the Carroll Gallery

Always highly regarded for his fluid imagination and polished craftsmanship, David Borgerding in this show brings his sculptural vision more clearly into focus. Maybe it's those silky bronze surfaces, but these works seem more self explanatory than ever before, even if those explanations do not exist in words. Visual art is a language that speaks directly to the inner world of the psyche, and the forms that comprise these sculptures may evoke bones, stones or biological forms, but no specific associations are necessary because the pieces all sing in tune. So emblematic works like Pume, top front left, or Varudur, a more vertical work with similar free-form rectangles and rods, articulate a fluid progression of silent music that resonates in the secret recesses of the mind even if we have no idea why. All in all, it's a brilliant, breakthrough exhibition.

Jennifer Odem's works at Tulane's Carroll Gallery explore universal forms, but here the details of their construction sometimes resonate tensions having to do with gender or technology. Inspired by geological formations and domestic handicrafts, many of her sculptures evoke white lace somehow calcified into stone over the ages. Flora Pearlinious suggests a hut on stilts encrusted with barnacle-like filigree, a home, perhaps, for wayward sea sprites. Continental Riser, above, is far darker. Inspired by a deep sea dwelling worm, it sprouts flowers from its black lace surfaces while suggesting a flirtatious mutant life form, perhaps a legacy of the BP oil spill disaster. But Sister, which suggests an elaborate lacy, white on white crater, resonates contradictory notions of hard and soft, a strategy replicated in reverse by the similarly geological looking, but bulbously rounded Bounce, left, which evokes an oversize Victorian bustle with a zipper down the middle. Here Odem puts high and pop culture, ancient and contemporary forms, through a blender in a show that improbably, yet slyly, spans time and space.  ~D. Eric Bookhardt

Recent Sculpture: New Bronze Sculpture by David Borgerding, Through Oct. 30, Callan Contemporary, 518 Julia St., 525-0518; Interpretations: House and Universe: Mixed Media Sculpture and Drawings by Jennifer Oden, Through Oct. 25, Carroll Gallery, Tulane University, 314-2228.