Surf’s Up

Glenn Horowitz Bookseller East Hampton / Mike Solomon / Richard Prince/ Ashley Bickerton / Michael Halsband

By Robert Long,  The East Hampton Star

Aug. 9, 2001 — Mike Solomon is represented by gorgeous, softly painted watercolor studies of the ocean in various weather conditions, each accompanied by a brief penciled meteorological report. He is also showing a series of modest-looking, tinted beeswax-on-hardware cloth- that is, steel mesh – sculptures that manage to convey, through some genius of the artist’s, the texture and movement of the tube formed by a wave’s curl as it crests and begins to collapse.

The medium seems perfectly suited to the subject, beeswax mottles color, and so the tint of each of the “waves” seems true to the look of the water. And when the works are placed on light boxes, as three of them are, you see the same kind of shimmery, semitransparent light that waves have. And the steel mesh provides just the right suggestion of the harsh look that driven water takes on, the raggedness of the leading edge of a wave.

The pieces are effectively seen from any angle, and the perceptual push and pull – Is it wax or wire ? Is it a wave ? How can wax look so watery? —  keeps you looking.

Back in the early 1970s, a nascent conceptualist might have produced just one of these works, but it would have been huge, nailed to a very long gallery wall. There’s no reason Solomon couldn’t do that- it would be amazing to see- but there’s a great deal to be said for these compact works’ aura of harnessed power. You should see the show for them alone.