Sunday, October 6, 2013

Trip to NYC

I really love the city and every time I visit there are amazing things to see.  I created a list of what shows looked interesting, including Dorothea Rockburne at MOMA, Damien Ortega at the Gladstone Gallery, and Allison Miller at Susan Inglett Gallery.

Having met Dorothea in person about a year ago at her studio, I was really delighted to see her work so beautifully presented at MOMA.  I have always loved her work on paper and linen, but to see them up close and in a large enough space to view them, was phenomenal. She has expanded the notion of drawing into a practice of conceptual thinking, and utilizes different surfaces on which to explore ground/figure relationships.  The pieces at MOMA reveal her highly refined ability to make aesthetic judgements as she goes, following mathematical principles,. She uses line both as evidence of process and an object in itself. When line is incorporated, it has an uncanny quality of coming away from the surface, three-dimensionally. This illusory characteristic adds to the mystery and beauty of these pieces.   The paper/linen/carbon also become surfaces that she transforms into sculptures, by folding, painting, or revealing the backside in intriguing ways.  Translucency and opacity also figure into the visual nuance of her work.  Finger prints on the wall also become integral to the carbon paper pieces, and the crude oil piece reminds me of ancient walls that bear heavy materiality.

Damien Ortega's installations are always fascinating, but the calligraphic installation of his sculptures in his show at Gladstone Gallery was breathtakingly rich.   The dance of light on the snake-like forms, which were hung from the ceiling, created alphabetic script shadows on the floor. Every letter was represented in two ways--as form and its cast shadow.

A rave review in the NYTimes of Allison Miller's show at Susan Inglett's Gallery convinced me to see this show.  Her abstractions are full of color and texture, and optically scintillating.  Surface and texture play across the image in a playful mix, moving forward and then backward in space, and a variety of forms with seemingly loose markmaking, are finished with great compositional precision.  These pieces sing, with a kind of visual poetry that shows great mastery and sensitivity.  Loved them all!

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