Andrew Erdos and John Drue S. Worrell on reconciling American nihilism and abstractions in sculpture making

John Drue S. Worrell, "Letter opener (BURNS)," 2022. Image courtesy of 11 Newel Gallery.

Andrew Erdos and John Drue S. Worrell: Work On a Spinning Rock 

11 Newel Gallery

Through February 20th, 2022 

By WM, February 2022  

Andrew Erdos and John Drue S. Worrell’s two-person exhibition “Work On a Spinning Rock” is coming to a close on February 20th. Juxtaposed in the space of 11 Newel Gallery, their respective works represent two distinct trends in contemporary sculpture.

Erdos, a Brooklyn based artist trained in traditional glassblowing, lets the process define his sculpture work. His work is inspired by his extensive observations of geological formations while seeking a metaphorical harmony between nature and the modern world.

In Erdos’ words, he lets the process define the sculpture. This is best seen in his pieces made of molten aluminum “Aluminum Slabs” and “Small Dinosaur”, where liquefied aluminum is poured onto glass. The end result is an organic piece that showcases the power and beauty of the process.

Erdos also uses more traditional glass blowing techniques to create shaped and structured pieces. These are exemplified in his Moon Jars, a take on a traditional form of pottery in various cultures around the world. However, unlike the porcelain classics, Erdos’ jars are a striking palette of grays and black as he uses volcanic sand to craft his take on the art form.

Perhaps, most-striking alongside of his Moon Jar series is a pair of rotund, colorful animals with a clear Jeff Koons inspiration. Both “Gold Animals with Silver Legs” and “Frosted Silver Animal” highlight Erdos’ glass skills and affinity towards rare earth metals. They are a whimsical addition to the space. 

Andrew Erdos, "Gold Animal with Silver Legs", 2019. Image courtesy of 11 Newel Gallery.

In contrast, John Drue S. Worrell’s works combine a hearty mixture of cartoon reference and rural culture. A dark, comedic nihilism drawn from cartoon violence seeps through his work, often depicting popular characters such as in “Letter Opener (BURNS)” and “Rug”. With these pieces, Worrell sought to expand surreal qualities and regurgitate their meaning into a formal context of sculpture and painting. He also draws upon his early childhood and life growing up in Indiana, including farm equipment, such as in “Satellite Harvest”, weathervanes, and local animals like roosters and ibex. 

In the main room of the space, Worrell takes on the formidable silhouette of the Indominus Rex from the Jurassic Park franchise. Hollywood’s “Untameable King” has been transformed into a hand-drawn weathervane. In what would traditionally be the position of a rooster, the bellowing dinosaur has been tamed, with a small rooster riding atop.

Another striking piece is his take on The Big Bad Wolf in the same room. Rather than a snarling, anthropomorphized lupine, Worrell’s wolf is a cast iron kull of the animal with a rope of red running through its mouth. The rope acts as a U around the snout of the animal, with one white boot on either end of it. 

However, it is Worrell’s commentary on social class in the main room that sticks with the viewer. Three massive heads of The Simpsons’ villain, Mr. Burns rest on rusted heavy doors on the floor. The decapitated heads are vibrantly colored, with speckles and fleckings of green, purple, and grays. They are each impaled upon a matching letter opener of the same color as the flecking. All three of the heads feature an eye stabbed out with a wooden rod.

Worrell’s work, like Erdos’, is something that quickly captures the eye of the viewer. The two artists’ works compliment and contrast each other in the space. WM


Whitehot writes about the best art in the world - founded by artist Noah Becker in 2005. 


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