The first major European solo show of works by Chicago-born artist Robert Therrien is currently showing at London’s Parasol unit. Works 1975–1995 focusses on pieces made in this 20-year period, with many of the works shown in public for the first time in a long while.
Therrien’s works are commanding, mostly human-sized sculptures formed from materials such as steel, enamel and brass. But, their weighty forms take influence from all manner of everyday and, at times, amusing objects. A 1985 untitled work looks undeniably snowman-like, and yet, for such a serious-seeming piece, this might remain a private thought for the bashful viewer.
Taking influence from Minimalism, Pop and Conceptualism, an academic reading is of course available, although the lighter reading is there for the taking too. Clouds, hats and other domestic objects have been a repeat theme for the artist, who adeptly mixes high and low all at once.
Change is also a recurrent theme, Therrien’s forms often taking their cue from objects that change by nature. Snow melts, clouds reform. These transient objects are held in a fixed state here, by very fixed materials, as though caught in time.
During Frieze Week, when space and time are rare gifts, this show offers the opportunity to see compelling sculpture in the manner it was intended, with room to breathe. The show also features works on paper and reliefs.
‘Robert Therrien: Works 1975–1995’ is showing at Parasol unit until 11 December 2016. Elephant will have an event at the gallery from 6-8pm on Friday 7 October.