Ron Desmett
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Ron Desmett
"Eccentric Beauty"
Kim Foster Gallery
New York City

October 11-November 10, 2012

To provide continuity and context for Ron Desmett's most recent series of black mis-shapen forms on exhibition in Chelsea, a work from his six-year-old "Lidded Trunk Vessel" series was included. Its presence highlighted the artist's undiminished determination to subvert the symmetry and beauty of glass in newly expressive ways. Gravity continues to weigh heavily on Desmett's recent work, as do chance and the organic negative spaces he uses as molds to blow is crumpled forms. All vestige of the vessel tossed aside and the mass no longer recognizable, the objects Desmett creates are not purely aesthetic. An experiment with new color at a residency at the Museum of Glass, Amber with Golden Sphere (2012) was nearly completed in 2010 but left unfinished for two years. Unhappy with an unsatisfactory tilt, the artist propped it up as one might support the the short leg on a table. A golden-globe base now plays a supporting role, a platform that frees the artist from pure chance and circumstance in the resolution of his works. An element of the functional enteres as a way to stabilize these ungainly forms, which might topple if left to purely serendipitous creation.

Table-like steel platforms act as supports as Desmett wrestles incongruous pairings of aggressive shapes into submission. The first in the "Seismic Shift" series, Cleave (2011) brings together disparate forms in a tense composition, an unsettling gathering of forms on supporting bases that share only a similar matte-black finish and unnerving form, like nothing you've ever seen before.

A lone, polished period sits as a crescendo atop Force (2012), as if left behind as an artifact of a more complex past, a black death buffed and polished to a pearlescent sheen. Like the tumbledown heap of elements that is Cairn (2012), a masterful composition of flotsam, it is a morose reminder of the fragility of life — orbs used like dysfunctional doorstops to slow destruction and induce familiarity.

A precariously stacked potpourri of shapes from Desmett’s expanded bag of tricks, Invoke (2012) is whimsical totem to futility. Precariously balanced but buoyant, it is not unlike the stack of balls held aloft on the snout of a seal, a multitasking feat of peril. Many have claimed the cleansing and healing powers of round stones, here proving just the right medicine to bring this lone horse’s sustained sculptural powers further into the light. Desmett understands it is not the stone alone, but how it balances.

John Drury is a New York City-based artist, writer and educator.