Friday, October 5, 2007

Shows and How They Stacked Up Against Reviews

Hello all and welcome to another installment of my NYC blog. I've read a few reviews from the Brooklyn Rail and the Village Voice of shows that I have visited recently and would like to add my two since worth.

The first review comes from the Brooklyn Rail and it is in regards to Ingrid Calame's show Constellations at the James Cohan Gallery. John Yau, the author of the review, comments that Calame has developed a style in which concept and process go hand in hand. No truer words could have been spoken for the Pollock like work of Calame. Her process is her work. She routinley goes to areas of the country such as the drainage canals in LA and most recently the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and traces the things that we would encounter everyday but choose to ignore and disregard such as tire marks, graffiti and stains on these surfaces. She then painstakingly transfers these to enormous sheets of mylar and strips of aluminum paneling assigning each layer or stain a certain color creating a field of mesmerizing color. When seeing these paintings from afar they appear to be abstract screen prints of brush strokes but upon further inspection each shape has been individually painted with short staccato strokes done with enamel paint. As intriguing as I think this process is, something is lost when you can see the artists hand in the finished product. The images cease to be stains and tracings, instead they transform into a highly conceptualized paint by number. I think they would have been much more successful as stencils or perhaps even screen prints or etchings further detaching the artists hand from the tracings themselves. Even John Yau writes "I find this extremely disheartening because it is obvious from her work that she could do something far more engaging and idiosyncratic, and that she need not straitjacket herself". What I did enjoy about the show however were the large mylar tracings of the LA river system. These were enormous tracings about 15'x5'. They overwhelming in size as well as composition. If this sounds familiar she was included in the drawing exhibition at the Jepson this summer.

The Laura Battle and Sarah Lutz show titled Recent Works was a best in show recommendation by R.C. Baker from the Village Voice and rightly so. Baker playfully writes "Buy someone a drink for pairing this disparate duo-they're opposite sides of a beautifully funky coin. No truer words have been spoken about this show. It was probably the oddest pairing of artists works that I had encountered upon first sight. Laura Battle appears to be a schematically inclined geometric slightly op-art artists working with numerous straight lines emerging and converging in such a manner to create depth and order out of an anally constructed chaos. And yet here pieces have a meditative quality unlike any I have seen before. Each graphite line is perfectly engineered and mechanically precise but at a distance dissolve into a wondrous conglomeration of harmony. Sarah Lutz's work, on the other hand, engages the viewer with texture and a vivid yet soothing color palette. Baker describer her work as "pungent vegetation and torpid creatures that coagulate into a chromatic loam at eh bottom of her 30-inch-high canvases, the atmosphere above ripe with humid blues and smoggy pinks". Her paintings seem to be creating themselves out of these organic mounds of color letting off noxious gaseous emissions into the smoggy back rounds as they grow and pulsate with life. Together Lutz and Battle create a cohesive bond between mechanical and organic, chaos and order.

I was also lucky enough to see the Sol Lewitt show at the Paula Cooper Gallery. I haven't been able to find any reviews in any magazines or newspapers as of late but let me tell you this was an amazing thing to behold. He has, dispersed throughout the gallery small studies and sketches of straight lines that are in almost every conceivable combination. These were a nice addition to the main installation because it gave you a glimpse into the inter-workings and process of Sol Lewitt's mind. The main feature however was a site to behold. Situated in the massive back room sits a 16 x 16 x 16 ft cube and on each face there is a pattern of lines completely constructed out of meandering lines; it's almost as if the line was a continuous mark a thread of string wrapped around the entirety of the wall. It was amazing see that the dark bands of graphite were hundred and hundreds of layers of scribbled lines nothing was shaded or blended it was all done with the simple form of a line. I wish I had pictures of this I may try and go back next week and get some if I can but it was an amazing sight to behold.

I also visited the MET this past Thursday but I am going to hold my reviews for the next blog because I don't have the newest Artforum and I believe there is a review on the Neo Rauche exhibition which was quite amazing. Hope all is well wherever you may be until next time........


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