Roxy Paine, Checkpoint, 2014

The mania surrounding the release of the iPhone 6 would have you believe the device might cure cancer or create world peace. Part science, part magic, we seem to be in awe of it and the onward march of progress it encapsulates—especially when it’s made by Apple. But strip away the marketing babble, the shine, even the color, and you’ll find it’s shape and size eerily mundane. It’s an object that would be at home in the new Roxy Paine show Denuded Lens, on view now at Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York through October 18.

The artist’s work, with its playful flirtation of nature and manufactured forms, has previously used robots to produce globular mounds of color, and steel to construct towering trees (the latter of which have adorned Madison Square Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art). And now, at the center of Denuded Lens, a painstakingly chiseled wooden diorama of an airport security line.

The work, Checkpoint, is set within a frame and created using forced perspective that makes its 18 feet appear as if they were 80. Inside the frame Paine has recreated all the signature elements of the despised travel experience: the intimidating x-ray machines, the scuzzy bin for your shoes, the numerous stanchions and dividers, and the ubiquitous signage on how to make it through alive. But he’s also made sure not to overlook the prosaic details. There’s the electrical outlets, the A/C grates, the rubber flaps of the conveyor belt, the light switches, the trash bags, and the bolts—even ones the viewer can barely see. The whole thing is lit with the institutional glow of fluorescent bulbs.

By rendering these objects in the warm hue of soft maple, Paine strips these items of some of their original meaning. Screens are blank, keyboards lack letters, signs are missing instruction. We know what they are immediately, yet they are only the shell of the things they represent. And our initial wonder at the scope of the work quickly turns to a sort of dread. In fact, it is hard to look at this banal dollhouse for too long; the forced perspective turns dizzying once the thrill of identification fades.

This is the artist’s second installation of this kind (he recreated a fast food counter out of maple for Kavi Gupta gallery in Chicago last year.) And Checkpoint is complemented by other maple sculptures, sort of hybrid mechanical forms—like the megaphone-chainsaw, Speech Impediment, or an unfinished pinball machine, Intrusion—created with equally dizzying detail.

In interpreting organic forms with mechanical materials or mechanical forms with organic materials it seems Paine it less concerned with damning our technological crutches than he is highlighting their form. (In fact, much of the works were constructed with the assistance of digital modeling.) Might we appreciate the design of even the most conventional of hardware when crafted in the manner of an ornate wooden armoire or an intricate Chinese figurine? If Paine has his way, you might start appreciating gaskets the same you do that new iPhone 6.