Urban Fossil


Editorial Review

Paul DiPasquale

By Jessica Dawson
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, June 5, 2009

In his latest series of small-scale sculptures on view at Cross MacKenzie Gallery in Georgetown, Richmond-based sculptor Paul DiPasquale -- best known for a mammoth, kitschy "Neptune" installed surfside at Virginia Beach -- turns his attention to the sobering topic of gun violence.

At the gallery, a collection of small works incorporates handguns recovered by police during criminal investigations. Per police procedure, each gun has been severed in two; DiPasquale acquired them in bulk and reunited each half with its mate.

The artist calls the series "Urban Fossils." He embeds the confiscated firearms into rocklike forms that he shapes out of concrete. The resulting works cross 1970s-era rock sculpture with some very elegant, very creepy and very impotent weaponry.

As objects, they're not much to look at. Each is, after all, engineered to appear crude and aged. As think-pieces, though, these "Urban Fossils" are an optimistic group. Each imagines a world where tools of homicide and terror have become the ruins of prehistory.