What's on Los Angeles | Index

by Jody Zellen

March 21, 2019

Rona Pondick
Zevitas Marcus
February 9 - March 30, 2019

Installation views

Rona Pondick's latest works are brightly colored resin and acrylic sculptures featuring bald heads (cast self portraits) often floating in, or situated above, translucent cubes or boxes. Throughout her long career, Pondick has investigated the human body to create hybrid plant/animal forms in a wide range of materials including stainless steel or bronze. Her new works are a shift in both materiality and chroma.

The floor-based Yellow Blue Black White, 2013-2018, is unsettling. Here, an opaque yellow head is awkwardly attached to a blue and black blob-shaped body— a textured agglomeration of epoxy modeling compound. Tiny misshapen yellow hands extend from arm-like appendages on either side of the genderless form. Is this a new species? Human? Animal? Alien?

Magenta Swimming in Yellow, 2015-17, presents an uncanny juxtaposition of human and creature. A semi transparent magenta head is attached to a much smaller, not quite human body swimming in resin. The head emerges from the resin just above the lips. The rectangular base is divided into two zones, the top one is semi transparent, the bottom a deep opaque yellow. Because Pondick's sculptures demand to be viewed from all sides, the works are installed within the gallery at different heights and are easy to circle around. The works are titled after the colors used in their making, as well as the orientation of the heads within the resin casing. Encased Yellow Green, 2017-2018, features a disembodied head trapped in semi transparent resin. There is a yellow glow from within the head which is curiously positioned adjacent to a lime green rectangle suggesting an external battery pack. When viewed from one side, this shape obscures the head, whereas when viewed from above or behind, both the head and the accompanying green object are visible.

Pondick's creations feel like specimens, many enclosed in protective casings, each with a different orientation and color palette. The heads and their weird bodies have abject qualities. Are these alien beings preserved for future study? Though sturdy (as each sculpture is placed atop a pedestal), the sculptures also feel quite delicate, alluding to a fragile existence. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact emotions these purposely strange creations elicit as they are beautiful, fascinating and disturbing simultaneously. Pondick speaks about the psychology of color and these very personal works (many imagined while recovering from a serious illness) resonate on a physical and emotional level, suggesting a time when science fiction meets reality.