Peter Reginato at Adelson Gallery

By Gerard McCarthy, Art in America, January 2002, p. 104

An orgiastic celebration of color ran through this exhibition of 21 recent abstract sculptures by Texas-born artist Peter Reginato. Most of these painted steel works are about 3 feet tall and were placed on pedestals so that the exuberant compositions burst into view at eye level when one entered the gallery. While the concatenations of colorful parts create a dazzling decorative effect that recalls the lyrical energy of Kandinsky's early abstract paintings, a close look at these sculptures reveals their affinity to Cubist collage. For example, subtly painted highlights on some of the steel shapes contradict the play of shadow that defines the three-dimensional forms.

The works are composed of thick steel wire and various thin hand- and finger-sized sheet-metal shapes. The artist employs a vocabulary of spines, fronds, splashes and stars, as well as flat, cellular forms that are bent, partly folded and perforated with rounded or occasionally rectangular openings. They are dressed in different hues of thickly applied paint, which disguises the fine welding that joins each element.

In Stendhal Syndrome (2001), a passage of red ridges and purple curving forms is connected to a thin yellow bone shape that supports an expansive midsection. Here, one blue and one green tadpole shape extend laterally, opposing a crumpled silver tadpole at the end of a white and orange limb. The interaction of these colorful elements evokes the dizziness and dislocation the work's title refers to, but the piece also suggests a toy robot dancing the funky chicken.

It is hard not to recognize a figure in works such as Another Weak Moment (2001), where a spiky vertical rod functions as a spine, and a gray notched vertical bar is surmounted by a rounded form. In Original Sin (For Eva Hesse), 2001, a corrugated yellow oval with a vertical rectangle cut out just left of center stands on a dark palette shape. Below this is a pale blue hourglass form with a round hole in the lower section. This work appears to have a definite front and back, with strong vertical and horizontal axes, in contrast to the sprawling diagonals of the large Mild Steel, Stainless Steel, Plexiglas, InsItron, Your Mama (2000-01). While Reginato's approach may be methodical, the pieces share a capricious visual splendor that is more rhyme than reason.