Unity in Variety
January 31-March 1
Well-known in Europe and Canada, the German artist Helga Natz last showed in the United States at the Holly Solomon Gallery from 2000 to 2002. So congratulations are due the Kouros Gallery for bringing her back after six years for an elegant and powerful one-person exhibition, which shows her to be one of the most thoughtfully concise of contemporary sculptors.
Using wax, copper, Plexiglas, glass, ink, burned wood, lead, and milk, among other materials, she creates pieces in a many shapes, setting them a part to stand on their own or in pairs. Many of the sculptures radiate a gentle lyricism, while others can be hard and sharp. She is a minimalist who brings together material and design in such a completely organic manner, they seems to have been born together rather than been made. Or to use Kadinsky’s term, they have “inner necessity.”
Having started out as a painter, Natz learned the nuances of color. Then leaving the confines of rectangular canvases, she added to that knowledge what she discovered by bending, folding and creasing sheet metal and copper, building pyramids of plaster and sand and steel, and exploring the possibilities of concave and convex shapes. Much like Brancusi, she makes one aware of the beauty of curves, the physicality of gravity and the fluidity of her materials.
In a show full of beauties, it’s difficult to choose the most memorable but if forced, one would have to mention the softly radiant # 183, 2003, a copper and wax piece that resembles an ice pyramid thrown off center and #89, which is made of acrylic, and looks like a spear of the gods. Though her works are shown to great advantage in this gallery, it would be even better to see twice as many pieces exhibited outside, where doubtless they would look right at home.