American sculptor and draughtsman. Based in Los Angeles, CA, he completed an MFA at the Univeristy of Southern California and began his career making reliefs that operated between painting and sculpture, using simplified forms that were generic and instantly recognizable, such as a coffin shape in No Title (1980; see 1984 exh. cat.) or a church in No Title (1980; see 1984 exh. cat.). These works were placed on the wall and painted monochromatically, yet had enough structure to give them the feeling of an object. He also created freestanding works with the same simple, almost abstracted forms, such as a snowman in No Title (1985; New York, Whitney). In this early period, Therrien used a limited vocabulary, often working with the same shape in many different sizes and mediums. The motifs he used were linked by their simplicity and ability to evoke personal associations, marrying together a representational function and abstract form. His work took a change of direction in the late 1980s, when he began to make more explicit reference to real objects in his work, as in No Title (1986; see 1991 exh. cat., p. 46). This freestanding sculpture, which consists of two stacked cuboid blocks and a bowl, references classical sculpture in the anthropomorphic, contrapposto twist of the stacked blocks and in the structural, totemic language of Brancusi while the found-object bowl engages with the scale and presence of the quotidian world. He also expanded his work into large installations that examine the viewer’s relationship to scale, much as Charles Ray was doing in his own sculpture. Therrien achieved such ends most impressively with his Under the Table (1994; see 2000 exh. cat.), where a kitchen table and chairs are enlarged into giant sculptures raised sufficiently high for one to be able to walk beneath them. Often alluding to modest household items from a domestic context, such as the stack of oversized plates featured in No Title (1999; Los Angeles, CA, Co. Mus. A.), Therrien uses them as elements in abstract sculptural psycho-dramas.
From Grove Art Online
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