-The Pale Memory of Man
By Christopher Miles
Jesse Bercowetz at The Happy Lion
The Brooklyn-based Bercowetz is a maker of idols, altars and icons that can be intimate, funny, humble and even sweet. But they also can be ominous and imposing, as is The Pale Memory of Man, a massive structure suggestive of a combination temple and high-voltage tower — its tip appearing to pierce the gallery ceiling and supporting a structure of weeping, branchlike extensions that envelop you as you stand beneath its canopy. Cobbled together from scavenged wood, wire, chain, rope and cardboard, and drenched in black, it's like an Alexander Calder sculpture crossed with a tree from a haunted forest, after a flood. From it hang crude medallions bearing pictures of people and places familiarly unfamiliar, as well as a messiah or cult figure or two. It's a work that both compels and repels with its form, but also speaks to the compulsion and revulsion of faith and hubris.