Art in the Shadows: Larry Kagan at Hirschl & Adler Modern

Art in the Shadows: Larry Kagan at Hirschl & Adler Modern

Unexpected things lurk in the shadows. Finding them can be a simple matter of searching in the right light.

The steel sculptures of Larry Kagan (b. 1946) contain more than a quick glance would suggest, and with them the artist keeps a shadowy secret: The complete grandeur of his works are only revealed when they're placed under bulbs at just the right angle. On their own, his twisted, abstract metal pieces, made from tangled and looping steel rods (which look something like giant pencil shavings, or floating notebook scribbles) inspire intrigue. But hang them against a neutral backdrop and drape them in light, and a new set of works contained within the first presents itself. From the shadows rise stunning representational forms, some even sprinkled with art history references: from a smoking pipe that nods to René Margritte's famous 1929 painting "The Treachery of Images," to an Oxford-style shoe to a hand clutching a pistol. With the flick of a light switch, one piece of art becomes two, and an artist shows his depth.

These works put an amateur's campfire shadow puppets to shame.

Larry Kagan's exhibit Steel & Shadows is on view at Hirschl & Adler Modern (The Crown Building, 730 Fifth Ave., 212.535.8810) thru Oct. 11. Check out selections from the exhibit below:

"Magritte's Paradox," 2014, Larry Kagan

"Oxford," 2011, Larry Kagan

"You Did What?," 2014, Larry Kagan