Walking up the short flight of steps to enter in to Team Gallery‘s 83 Grand Street location is often it’s own reward, providing a nice break between the busyness of the SoHo street as you cross over into the relative silence of the polished white cube. The result is often confounding in the best possible way, presenting you with a viewing situation that you may not have expected and could not get a solid glimpse of from street level.
Daniel Turner’s current exhibition in the space is no exception. The viewer is immediately greeted by a twin pair of sculptures resembling utilitarian workstations of some kind, but at a peculiar height and seemingly erased of their functionality. Two long, low tables sit side-by-side, mirror images of one another in the center of the gallery space. With nothing on the walls, the space feels almost emptied out, but this initial impression fades as one begins to think about the work on hand. Their pale yellow color seems to speak to a domestic origin, but their length being over twenty feet long directs one to imagine them in a larger environment, such as a factory setting.
Each piece features a brushed metal basin that calls to mind a feed trough or industrial sink, though without a drain. A residue of evaporated liquid coats the bottom of these basins, presenting a vestige of recent action, or an idea of the artists presence that resists spelling out exactly what has transpired.
The work raises many classic ideas about the value of a sculpture, making a naked case for why objects can be vehicles for thought rather than necessarily being tied to a particular use. In this way, Turner presents more questions than answers with this work. It seems to be about creating a situation where the importance lies inside the viewer’s mind as we willingly engage in this aesthetic game of cat and mouse. It’s an experience that connects the viewer to the space, returning to the work in our minds as we turn it over and over, casting speculative theory as to what it may mean. The more it makes one think, the more we are able to recognize that perhaps this mind exercise alone can be enough.
By Matthew Hassell