Friday, March 6, 2009

New York Times Review

Adelphi University Center Gallery,
South Street, Garden City.
Through Feb. 22.
(516) 877-4460.

Didier Cameau and Iyaba Ibo Mandingo have strong ideas about linking material, method and message. Both are in the early phases of their careers, but have had busy exhibition schedules since they began to show in the mid-1990's, shortly after completing art school. Mr. Cameau's studio is on Long Island; Mr. Mandingo works in Connecticut.
Chains, hammers, scraps of metal or concrete are among the found objects that Mr. Cameau uses in sculpture that features precisely considered balance, tension and form. The reasoned configurations and their cool exactness often contrast with the toughness of the industrial objects. Mr. Cameau seems to be fascinated with the cognitive space between inventive design and historical associations with selected materials.
His symbolism is quiet but effective. Past physical effort is part of the message conveyed by the three hammerlike vertical shafts in ''Freedom, Enterprise, Expiditus.'' The five-foot-high ''Ascension,'' the largest piece, places a taut chain inside a rear cavity as if it were now to be regarded as a frozen relic.
Mr. Mandingo turns interlocked human limbs into rodlike, semi-abstract diagonal lines that create dynamic action as they sweep across his boldly colored and patterned paintings. A rod's extremities will sometimes morph into a hand or foot, offering visual clarification of the artist's theme for this series: the universality of love. His intention of specifically underscoring the African heritage comes across in pairs of heads treated as traditional tribal masks, and in powerful background patterns that are inspired by schemetized textile designs.

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