William Cannings at Anya Tish

I didn't know you could inflate metal like that. William Cannings has invented a way of puffing up hollow steel shapes so that they resemble vinyl. Eighteen new pieces at Anya Tish gallery form a superbright, superglossy toyland, but make a superficial exploration of the possibilities of his novel technique, and never get beyond "gee, whiz!" Cannings creates a roomful of aimless variations: inflated beach ball, inflated flower petals, inflated cubes, inflated tetrahedrons, inflated beach ball that has exploded, abacus strung with inflated beads. Get it?

And there are so many possibilities! The beach ball could have led to satirical re-creation of other inflatable objects, a la Jeff Koons' 1986 Rabbit. Speech Bubble-iscious, an inflated red speech bubble, begins an interesting crossover between pop and biomorphic abstraction. The two flower pieces, She Loves Me and She Loves Me Not could be the beginning of an exploration of real feelings through hyper-slick kitsch. But this is sculpture born in a metal shop, motivated by technical experimentation; instead of pursuing a coherent theme Cannings skims the surface of different approaches, opting for any idea that presents new technical or formal challenges.

She Loves Me . . .

also by Bill Davenport

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3 responses to “William Cannings at Anya Tish”

  1. that flower alone makes me wish I’d never written favorably about this artist, as I did once about a piece. what a fabulous technique, and a lot of steel, wasted. gimicky and pointless.

  2. art ambulance? There’s got to be something good to write about in H-town. Maybe you should slum. The Houston Civic Arts Association Just had an open, open show. I’d rather read about that than mindless tripe in the upper echelon.

  3. it was well spaced. check out the Houston Exhibits page here on glasstire to see what I wrote about it.

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