Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by sculptor Mark Handforth. Rough Dark Diamond, Handforth’s first solo gallery exhibition in Los Angeles, will consist of large-scale sculptural works installed both within the gallery and in the courtyard outside.
Mark Handforth twists mundane markers of modern life—light fixtures, roadway signs, motorcycles—into an evocative series of symbols and ciphers. Working in the fertile conceptual space between Minimalism and Surrealism, Handforth manipulates form, material, context, and especially size. Thus transformed, his chosen cultural signifiers take on a new and alien life. In his new exhibition, Handforth works from abstracted templates of simple shapes. The titular diamond, fashioned from steel pipe, is secured to floor and ceiling, framing the gallery space like a roughhewn portal or doorway. Similarly, Handforth explores variations on wire coat hangers, telephone handsets, and five-pointed stars, all recurring motifs in the artist’s own unique sculptural language. These symbols of domesticity, reappropriated and stripped of utility, exist as a series of oblique totems that read playful, provocative, and even menacing by turns.
Within Rough Dark Diamond, these works function pointedly to draw together the connection between the external and internal exhibition spaces. A light piece, consisting of translucent blue light bulbs, spreads large across the main internal gallery wall. Visible from the outside, these lights combine to form a floating blue telephone, which seems to break apart into a cosmic array. In relation to Handforth’s other heavy bronze phone sculptures, this light piece becomes a ghost in the form of a tantric light drawing; a constellation of the everyday. At this point the graphic form (the icon; the sign) breaks apart to join again with everything else in the world.
In the courtyard outside, a sculptural interpretation of a white wire hanger twists up to the sky.The work is named for Alan Watts, the British philosopher whose work incorporated Eastern mysticism with the study of psychotherapy. Himself a wonderfully inconsistent philosopher, Watts found himself in many ways inescapably empathetic to the connectivity and the bond between all things. A freeze frame precariously suspended in subjective time, this hanger, and further Handforth’s star, diamond, telephone and golden ring, live in this state of jaunty tension.
Mark Handforth has participated in exhibitions at such institutions as the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. Handforth, who was born in Hong Kong in 1969, lives and works in Miami.