This exhibition of recent bronze sculptures by London-born Italian artist Tristano di Robilant won't knock you over the head. His art, a distinctive hybrid of abstract geometric and organic form, is all about subtlety and understatement to begin with. And these pieces are mostly smallish bronzes, maquetes for large-scale projects, although several large objects are also included. Nevertheless, the show offers a rare opportunity to examine the working process of an artist who does not show in New York often enough.
A number of pieces look like children's toys and birdhouses; others recall archeological relics, like tombstones or cult fetish objects, or perhaps instruments or tools whose purpose has been lost. Di Robilant's expert manipulation of patinas causes the bronze to resemble many other materials, ranging from ceramic to plastic and stone.
Among the most poetic and haunting works is the most recent, a four-and-a-half-foot-tall column with a green patina, titled Portrait with Pebbles. Surrounded by a several rough-hewn balls resting on a base, the column could be a reference to Brancusi. Another striking piece, titled Vista, features two thick rings covered in a silver-white patina. This eloquent work seems emblematic of sight itself.
"Tristano di Robilant," Mar. 9-Apr.17, 2001 at Annina Nosei, 530 West 22 Street, New York, N.Y. 10011.