John Newman
Will Heinrich

The New York Times

November 2016

The second show at Chapter NY’s new Houston Street space is an elegant pairing of sculptors. Three large drawings from the late 1980s and early ’90s, by the sculptor John Newman, mine the sexual implications of mathematical curves in lava-lamp colors. Two small recent sculptures echo the drawings, using Mr. Newman’s signature juxtaposition of dissimilar materials, textures and shapes — yellow-striped papier-mâché; clear, colored and mirrored plexiglass; and extruded aluminum, among others — to solidly suggestive effect.

All five of Mr. Newman’s pieces, with their blurred edges, soft textures and formal instability, create a complex and active context for Jo Nigoghossian’s austerely spectacular duet of black steel scribbles. Her “Day” is a loosely triangular cloud of black steel rods, strips and angle irons almost eight feet tall. Perching on the floor like an insect, seemingly too delicate to bear its own weight, it leans away from the viewer like Rodin’s “Monument to Balzac.”

To look at its companion piece, “With Marcel,” I recommend sitting on the floor. You might otherwise miss the brief splashes of creamy yellow paint that ornament the base, and the glints of copper-coated welding wire sticking out, like antennas, from a few of its joints. But, more important, only from beneath can you appreciate the childlike, appealing way the smaller sculpture reaches up toward the larger, and see that every one of the separate, spontaneous gestures of which each piece is composed — even rods that loop in place, or angle irons pointing down — is carried by the same tide in the same direction.