Whimsical twists of aluminum
Anna Fasshauer’s delightful sculptures at Mier Gallery look like they were made by a giant playing with twist ties. The three floor sculptures and three smaller wall pieces are made from strips of aluminum that the German artist paints, bends and fastens by hand into whimsical, rumpled shapes. Despite the industrial nature of the materials, the works have an organic ease about them. They’re like doodles in three dimensions.
“Birdy Croissant” is pretty much what it sounds like: an 8-foot-wide orange crescent whose upward pointing ends resemble the head and tail of a bird. The metal strips also evoke the banded, crinkly texture of a croissant. Although the creased and crumpled surface is reminiscent of John Chamberlain’s cataclysmic forms, the work is more of a spiritual cousin to Claes Oldenburg’s supersized everyday objects, with their gentle sense of humor.
“Tall Tico” is more Seussian, a tilting red T emerging from a pale green orb. It was inspired by the sign for a Mexican restaurant, but it also looks like an eccentric cactus, or the key to a windup toy.
The smaller wall pieces on view consist of strips of metal wrapped into rectangular shapes. They reminded me of Japanese obi sashes, those sometimes ornately knotted strips of brocade. This reference to the body seems apt for Fasshauer, who takes a cold, stiff, industrial material and renders it fluid, easy and human. Walking around one of her sculptures is like being inside a drawing where every line has an inside and an outside, twisting and turning through space.