Los Angeles Times 1997

Los Angeles Times

Prizing an Animated Approach to Life

by David Pagel, Special to the Times

For Daniel Wiener, drawings rarely serve such preparatory purposes. Rather than tracing the stages of an idea’s development, the New York-based sculptor’s images are complete unto themselves. At Angles Gallery, eight works form the last three years playfully demonstrate that when intuitions take shape, it doesn’t matter what stage of the process they spring from.

Each of Wiener’s abstract drawings sprouts a fully formed sculptural element. At the bottom of “Tohu and Bohu,” a curved funnel-like flourish proturdes form the paper’s surface, effectively transforming the washy blue drawing’s vertical stripes into a downpour of color that threatens to spill onto your shoes.

“Lucifer’s Teeth” embodies a similar menace. A section of its left edge bends back and thickens to form a toothy, lip-curling smirk that is only thinly disguised by its pastel blue color. Only half-jokingly. Wiener’s drawing also suggests that if it isn’t itself devilish, then some unseen being has just taken a bite out of it-and might be lurking nearby.

The best works evoke multiple responses as they compress three diminesions into two. From across the gallery, the seven hefty thorns that stud the suface of “Affliction” disappear into dark smudges of color. Likewise four unsavory lumps of sculpted plastic hide in a shadowy splash of black paint to give the otherwise elegant composition of “Shame” a jolt of unexpected tactility.

“Cigarette,””Brigand,””Shiver” and “Slippery Slope” add wire, rice paper and color photographs to Wiener’s crafty fusions. Sculpted roots, stumps and thumbs, as well as flowers, fungi, and tiny wilted barbells inhabit the ever-shifting world of these quietly perverse works. Never striving for solutions, Wiener’s 3-D Drawings show that the kinks are often more stimulating.