Stephen Lichty’s knockout solo gallery debut centers on an untitled monolith of columnar basalt sourced from Grand Coulee in Washington State. Six and a half feet tall and pale gray, it has a footprint naturally shaped like the trapezoidal pentagon on Superman’s breast. It is speckled with maroon dots and a few white patches, with a blackish
As if to illustrate the mechanism, or else take confident possession of the heavy white structural column in the center of the gallery, Mr. Lichty has placed two other pieces to the other side of it. In one, also untitled, a 10-inch square of dark gray basalt sits on a solid block of black steel the same size, like an archive box of self-motivated reality. The other, Cord, is two strands of black silk, fixed vertically into floor and ceiling and knotted together with a foot-long overlap, like a man pulling a drowning friend out of the
The monolith is equally silent, present or beautiful from any side. Immovably bridging the animate and inanimate, spectacle and secrecy, finding and making, vertical and horizontal—even solids and stripes or, if we can credit such a solemn piece with a dirty joke, lingam and pussy cat—it takes on the question of art’s mimetic function and calls its bluff by leaping right over it. But I quailed at such direct apprehension and positioned myself where I could stare into the cat’s eternally sleeping face, instead.
(Through June 28, 2014)