@ Susan Inglett Gallery 522 West 24th, NYC 01.08.09-02.07.09
Eric Fertman likes conveyor belts, cacti, fingers, fists, pulleys, broken axles, scaffolding, stones, flop-eared dogs, penises, gears, piping, abdomens, spinal cords, air shafts and mitochondria. His dendritic, arterial, robotic compositions are simultaneously machines of production and decomposition, where the motley components of his palpitating laboratories each arrest an instant of growth or decay.
In Monument, A smooth axis with radiating, foot-like appendages faces a splintered wagon wheel on a large, black sculpture of wood and steel. The damaged wheel is mirrored in its parallel image, redoubled, polished and purified, such that the machine addresses and neutralizes in its form its own incompleteness. In an ink drawing, Slab 3, a white cell multiples among black pupae nested in the endoplasmic wood grain of a cartoon factory complex. A broken plank stuck with bent nails protrudes from the roof.
Fertman treats the technological powers of generation as pure appearance, equating the birth and death of the animal with the fate of the dated machine. His is a poetics of fertility and obsolescence, and his impossible apparatuses throb with vitality while incorporating the prophetic shapes of their own ruin. Rocket science and biology share in a diagrammatic plan that pivots on a single foot in a shiny, globular Mickey Mouse shoe.
Fertman’s minimalism is in pared-down comic book shapes, where the object is reduced to its dominant proportions: the wiry limb and the bulbous joint, the floppy ear and the oblong head. Slim wooden bars suggest bones and joists; structural elements dramatized in an aesthetics of gravity. The capacity of each structure to bear its own weight, to articulate its own architectural schematics, is the final purpose of Fertman’s industry. What he produces, then, is a caricatured portrait of bio-industrial life processes, where the bare form engenders a conceptual anatomy of mechanized life envisioned in both the nested egg and the fuel pump.