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Timothy Nero
Ellsworth Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Iris McLister

(l.) Timothy Nero, "More Atrocities," 2013, acrylic on wood and vinyl, 31 x 16 x 1½". (r.) Timothy Nero, "More Absurdities," 2013, acrylic on wood and vinyl, 24 x 14 x 1½".

Continuing through May 14, 2014

Timothy Nero describes “Mind Gears," his current body of work, as “psychedelic camouflage … figurative, but on a molecular scale.” It's an unorthodox but peculiarly accurate description. Along with a selection of sculpture come Nero's large-scale shaped canvases, which seem to float and shape-shift across the gallery’s walls. The irregular and densely textured works resemble amoeba viewed beneath the lens of a microscope, an impression that’s only slightly negated by their often monumental scale. At seven feet across, the wiggly "Mind Gear 2" is an imposing presence. A coating of shimmery silver acrylic is embellished with squiggly markings, and its elongated, pinched shape features gear-like knobs at either end. The fact that Nero stretches his own meticulously shaped canvases is a dizzying feat considering their large size.

The cartoonish qualities in Nero's painted pieces are amplified in a pair of sculptures. Like the polymorphous, intentionally un-pretty works of Ken Price and Arlene Schechet, Nero's sculptures are marvelously strange amalgams of material and motif that walk a fine line between cute and menacing. In "Unearthed Thub" a thin, raw tree trunk is jauntily covered with a block of wood. Perched on top is a spiked form that appears caked with thick rust or rot. “Standing Thub" is a gangling, lumpy pillar that looks like it was dipped in black tar. The fact that it’s punctured all over with rounded wooden rods is weirdly beautiful — much like the entirety of this fabulously quirky show.

Ellsworth Gallery

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