Artforum.com

Ian Pedigo

By Kyle Bentley

June, 2006

An interest in recycling lies at the heart of Long Island City–based artist Ian Pedigo’s practice. He reclaims discarded materials—cardboard and plywood, either natural or painted; newspaper and magazine clippings; countertop fragments—for his rugged sculptures and installations, which sometimes even feature parts salvaged from his earlier works. His art’s quiddity lies not only in the detrital provenance of its materials, however, but also in its subtle, sophisticated formalism, an arguably more notable achievement now that art bricolages have become practically de rigueur. Like Richard Tuttle and his successors (particularly Gedi Sibony), Pedigo skillfully utilizes low-grade means to make clever works in which the geometry is rough, the edges are ripped, and the paint is chipped. Leaning against the wall or arranged on the floor, the pieces look fragile yet defiant; they are almost elegant in their shabby spareness. Pedigo’s formalism sometimes verges on the diagrammatic: Each of the two wall collages on view contains portions of found assembly instructions. Divorced from their referents and original uses, however, these appropriated schematics have become mere graphics subsumed into a larger order. Some of the works can be read allegorically: In Ruins over Field, 2006, a floral-patterned sheet is pinned to the ground and stretched to an uncomfortable degree by a scaffolding-like cardboard structure. Seeming like artifacts from another world, Pedigo’s objects present a messy, often-sinister minimalism in which the polished monolith has been degraded to matte color and splintered wood.