Imaginative New Worlds At The Mills

ROBERT ROVENHOLT AT THE MILLS GALLERY through May 12. 549 Tremont Street. Gallery hours: 2-4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Telephone: 426-7700.

by Jeanne Belovitch

You won't find the kitchen sink in the models by Robert Rovenholt, but you may be inclined to look for it as your eyes wander over a painted fish tail, a shower hose, Victorian spindles, and more when they assume new identities and environments n Rovenholt's creations.

Drawing upon such diverse sources as Mayan ruins, 18th and 19oth century architecture and contemporary high-tech forms, Rovenholt arranges objects to create new environmental models, to express his interest in spacial relations and surface treatment and to make political statements.

Within his Desert Sites series, recognizable ojbects comment on high tech industrial installations, the threat of nuclear war and camouflaged installation sities. In "Camouflaged Installation," the artist has placed several pieces of punched out rubber over a pyramid of cylindrical shapes of black foam rubber. In "Towering Saturn," familiar shapes of colorful plastic --- blues, yellows and reds ---are arranged to depict a launch pad with rockets standing by for blast-off, and little men dwarfed by their charges. The kinetic energy of this scenario is successfully transmitted to the viewer.

Turing to a more spiritual work, Tondo is of two circles comprised of white wood and splattered with gray paint. Tondo means circle in Italian, and this sculpture was influenced by the time Rovenholt spent studying art in Rome.

The Lesson is made of floating objects on a flat surface divided into two geometric shapes --- a black triange and a white triange. Although he admits to being influenced by Miro, Rovenolt said this work also captures a feeling of objects floating in outer space.

The Model for Temporary Housing n a New Wave Battlezone is comical and unequivocally new wave. Bright blue, shocking pink and orange boxes are covered with netting and spray painted chicken wire. Running helter skelter through the chicken wire is crinkled pink day-glow string, giving the model an electric and shocking presence.

Rovenholt's more traditional and structured piece is his Model for a Residence with a Formal Garden. This work, comprised of metal and wood, reminds one of Alice in Wonderland or a blueprint for a garden on an estate in the South of France.

There are several other models and reliefs on display that capture the imagination as well as stretch it. Rovenholt's new worlds are intriguing and fun to ponder.

Source: South End News, Boston, MA; 1984