In this show, titled "Dandy," Iowa-born Seattle sculptor David Eckard presents 10 works made of metal, leather and wood. Eckard grew up on an Iowa farm, and the works he produces look like antique farm implements that have been adapted for other uses. All of them involve clamps, handle bars, pulleys and strings. Some of them look like they might be devices used in S & M rituals, or the sacred relics of some kinky cult.
Grooms Men is a tall, wall-mounted work of two identical parts that could be used to restrain prisoners -- their heads fitted onto metal rings attached to the wall. Pillow includes a narrow cylindrical pillow clamped vertically to a shelf, like a miniature punching bag. The work titled Coy seems to explicate the show's title. Here, a small swivel mirror with a long handle can be manipulated back and forth, presumably, by a narcissistic dandy. Other works seem built to produce sounds. Knell features a tiny cymbal that can be struck by the wooden ball at the head of a long, curved hammer, and Prayer, with a tiny drum attached to a long string, could be a rudimentary telephone.
Eckard's work strikes me as a form of realism that, perhaps contradictorily, is implied rather than defined. In spite of the sculpture's carefully wrought design, the work does not draw attention to itself. Instead, the sculptures constantly allude to unseen protagonists, peculiar activities and uncertain motives.
David Eckard at Kim Foster, 62 Crosby, NY NY 10012 (Jan. 3-31, 1998).