It is one indication of how far the boundaries of traditional disciplines have been stretched that School 33's exhibit of "New Sculpture" contains Brent Crothers' "A One Year Journal," a group of gallon-sized jars filled with used coffee in used coffee filters.
The point of this, apparently, is to show how much waste is created by one small aspect of one person's life. If the contents of these jars are really pretty sickening looking, so much the better; Crothers wants to make us aware of just how bad the problem of waste is, and turning our stomachs is a way to do it.
His disparate works addressing environmental concerns are the most unusual in this show. "Earth Day -- Not Yet" is a sphere (the shape of the earth) of cut logs bound with an iron rim; this can be read as a comment on the silly and destructive practice of burning logs in open fires in well-heated houses.
Heidi Lippman works lead in wonderful ways. The surfaces of her sculptures curve organically, their edges ripple, they are lTC punctuated by staccato bumps. Light shimmers across these skinlike surfaces, and the metal seems fluid, almost metamorphosing as the viewer watches, or at times giving the impression that it exists in time rather than space, like a line of music.
These are good enough that they don't need the freight of titles, and the tritely pretentious ones they have been given definitely weigh them down. "This Paradise," "Deep Silence," "Each Is a World," "Lost Memory," "Held Void" only try to add a layer of meaning that these works neither need nor want. They survive it, but not altogether happily.
Robert Sirota's steel sculptures and drawings deal with deadly serious subjects in an almost lighthearted way. "Persian Excursion" is a series of five drawings that might be relevant to the Gulf crisis and in a more general sense to the folly of war. In "Mustard," for instance, a series of curlicues spread up and out from the ground as a plane flies high overhead. This might question whether air power can be effective against mustard gas, or its modern-day equivalents in chemical and biological warfare.
In a statement, Sirota says, "I consider my drawings the most important facet of my work," and he may be right. "Persian Excursion" and a steel-bound book of drawings come off better than his sculptures here, which can strain for effect, as with the three red hearts and orange thunderbolt of "Hit and Run Lover."
Upstairs at School 33, the highly finished surfaces of Keith McCormack's paintings seduce the viewer into studying the creepy imagery indicated by their titles: "Maggot Study," "The Worms Dancing Dawn," "Ringworms."
In the installation space, Timothy Hohe's "Clavis Pacis: The Key to Peace" warns of the madness of our war machine through a combination of photographs, clothes and other elements. It's a bit obvious, but it makes its point.
Sculpture at School 33
When: Tuesdays to Saturdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Jan. 25.
Where: School 33 Art Center, 1427 Light St.