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Artforum International

Ian Pedigo at 65 Grand

By James Yood

January, 2009

The old dictum that certain sculptors prefer to work with, rather than on, materials rings true in the case of Ian Pedigo. His efforts fall somewhere between found-object assemblage and three-dimensional collage; he takes the more or less utilitarian stuff of the world–the works in this exhibition, for example, incorporate lampshades, denim, foam insulation board, carpeting, plastic sheets, Homasote, magazine clippings, concrete, fabric, and plastic cups–and combines it so as to coax out poetic visual subtleties. Showing a predilection for planar arrangement, Pedigo builds what look like drawings in space: barely volumetric constructions of often wan and flat elements. 
In Division (all works 2008), a long, thin, wooden pole leans against the wall at a forty-five-degree angle. The pole is draped in a translucent plastic sheet and a smaller, more opaque piece of material cut from a window shade; near the bottom of the plastic sheet, the artist has adhered an even smaller piece of blue denim. The sheet and the shade are bisected by the pole so as to fall to one side as triangles and to the other as trapezoids. Because they were originally folded, the materials carry creases, which together render additional quadrilaterals and squares. What might seem a casual and somehwat passive gesture, the placing of common materials over a simple piece of wood, ultimately produces geometric cacophony; Pedog here brings out hidden or overlooked details, as he often does, allowing surprisingly complex moments of formal delectation to come when one might least expect them. Of Practicable Equanimity is an even more curious object, in which two minimally altered lamp shades have been set end to end, top to top, creating a vaguely figurative shape narrowing, as it were, at the waist. Four cups of the disposable drinking type–three in their original plastic form and one cast in concrete–prop lamp shades up so that they straddle a shallow traylike form placed directly on the floor. The work suggests a ceremonial or religious function; it looks like a kind of bare-bones baptismal font.

A First Slight Beginning or Appearance, the largest sculpture here, features a rectangular board cantilevered from the wall, though the thinnish pieces of cotton that dangle from it look like supporting legs. The tablelike structure supports two pieces of foam insulation board and Homasote, which together with their support form a board, squat ziggurat, drawing out the secret harmonies embedded in materials meant to be practically nonvisual, to be hidden behind walls or masked. Stray bits of text, surprisingly bright veneers of blue and silver, and small creases and indentations suggesting grids or packaging scars are all revealed by the artist, who, through an act of reshuffling, plucks them from invisibility and places them in pertinent, dramatic dialogue. As these works show, Pedigo is particularly adept at rehabilitating and exalting the hidden and humble.