Zak Kitnick’s “The Weather” is centered around a series of industrial-material sculptures that resemble, at once, works by Donald Judd and Lego bricks: metal cylinders of different heights are set on warm wood bases. Despite their trued edges and well-tuned aluminum knobs, the works seem to operate through free association—including with titles like Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, Cellphone, Keys, Wallet, Watch, ZEE (2022). One can’t help but notice that despite the sculptures’ carpenter-like construction, no two fit perfectly together.
The wall works take a different tactic. A number of appliqué shapes on metallic backgrounds have a sense of bouncing youthfulness, which stands in contrast to the austere free-standing forms, as when Judd moved from plywood to bright colors. A second set of wall works picks up this formal throughline with neon lights that waver like brushstrokes over gridded gray grounds.
The real tie between all these works is more diagrammatic than formal. Kitnick draws upon the vernacular of neon signage and connects it to natural cyclical patterns of time, seasons and weather. The sticker-like shapes correspond to the months of the academic year—Kitnick is a visiting professor at academic institutions.
Still, this cartwheeling array of disparate signs, media and systems isn’t meant to cohere into a fully legible symbolism. Part of his interest is in its stubborn inability to be corralled, the ways in which each element asserts its own objecthood and associations. Indeed, A Year In Review (2022) is actually a floorplan of all the works in the exhibition—a kind of cartogram, informative yet incomplete. —Lisa Yin Zhang
Zak Kitnick, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, Cellphone, Keys, Wallet, Watch, ZEE, 2022. Aluminum and wood, 36 x 30 x 20 inches