David Middlebrook, 99%, 2012. Clay-infused resin and gold-plated bronze, 21 x 22 x 22 in

David Middlebrook

San Francisco

The McLoughlin Gallery

Wood, stone, and metal may have been supplanted by newer materials (e.g., chocolate, tofu, and frozen blood), but some artists enjoy both the technical and aesthetic challenges of traditional, “noble” materials. David Middlebrook, who emerged on the Bay Area gallery scene only relatively recently—with a 2010 retrospective at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara and now this solo show—has had a long career making public sculpture and teaching (at San Jose State University), so he’s well versed in both technique and theory. The 18 sculptures featured in “Think Things,” generally cairn-like stacks of objects (or fragments of objects) rendered in permanent and often unlikely materials, confirm his self-assessment as “a thingmaker who thinks.” Technical expertise and virtuosic craftsmanship please (and fool) the eye; art history, political commentary, and absurdist humor please (and fool) the brain. Middlebrook’s socio-political Surrealism renders palatable a number of unappetizing issues that humanity chooses to push around the agenda plates. …see the entire review in the print version of March’s Sculpture magazine.