‘Sam Anderson: Flowers and Money’ at Chapter NY

Installation view. (Courtesy Chapter NY)

Installation view. (Courtesy Chapter NY)

There may be no works on view in New York that are more improbable than Sam Anderson’s latest sculptures. The Brooklyn-based artist’s solo show, which inaugurates this new space in what was formerly Bureau gallery’s Henry Street shoebox, includes 39 of them, none more than a few inches long. They are arrayed on a 5-by-5 grid marked out by thin standing wood dowels of various heights, which frame views of works and sometimes act as pedestals.

There’s a little wooden bird skeleton that looks as fearsome as a giant dinosaur as it stands gingerly amid minuscule clay flowers, two stacks of miniature Wall Street Journals tied with twine atop one dowel and, on the ground, three adorable little barrels paired with two carob seeds and a cherry stem slid through a minute metal string, alluding to settings as diverse as prehistoric times, the present day and the Wild West. At the center of the grid is the meatiest work, just about 9 inches tall: a frog skeleton struggling to climb a rock like it’s fighting for its life.

'Drum,' 2013. (Courtesy the artist and Chapter NY)

‘Drum,’ 2013. (Courtesy the artist and Chapter NY)

Each little assemblage seems to hint at a vignette as short as one or two sentences that could be fused with other pieces to produce an almost infinite number of longer, surreal narratives. Charles LeDray’s carefully modeled bite-size sculptures are clearly reference points, but Ms. Anderson seems to work small less for reasons of fetishistic craft than for its storytelling potential.

Ms. Anderson’s recent, only-slightly-larger show at the Bed-Stuy Love Affair project space, her current one-work solo outing at SculptureCenter and now this exhibition position her as one of today’s most interesting young artists. (Through Dec. 22) ‘Sam Anderson: Flowers and Money’  at Chapter NY