John Roloff

‘Morphology of Change’

New York Times, Friday, November 26, 1999
Art in Review
By Ken Johnson

Lance Fung
537 Broadway, near Spring Street
Through Dec. 18

John Roloff, a West Coast sculptor and conceptualist, presents a single marvelous installation, a kind of big, inside-out terrarium. What you see is a neatly built 18-foot-long plexiglass walled case, its floor carpeted with rich green moss and one open end fitted to a wide open gallery window so that outdoor elements may freely circulate within the box.

This work has a Minimalist matter-of-factness about it, but it also gives off metaphorical vibes. On several levels it is animated by the interplay of opposites. The space you look into is inside the box and inside the gallery, but it is also outside, exposed to the wind, rain, birds and bugs.

The container is artificial and static, but what it contains is in constant flux as the moss responds to changes of light, temperature and moisture. And it may not be too far-fetched to see the penetration of cultural space by this shaft of nature as a kind of sexual congress.

Looking into the box, you may feel an intriguing tension: a desire to travel from the stuffy, dry space of the gallery into that cool, breezy interior. Inaccessible, the inner space exerts an otherworldly attraction like some elusive, enchanted glade in the psyche.