Soft Voice: the humble object
A curated selection of 100 word reviews from Eutopia for Temporary Art Review.
Sara Greenberger Rafferty
Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, OR [link] July 9 – August 24, 2014
Fake fruit, an image of dead Christ and mannequin legs walk into a white cube. Fake fruit asks Curator about the flies: “After all, I’m dead but I’m not rotting.” Mannequin legs asks the silent Christ image to speak. Curator points to a stack of printed microphone images on a light-filled windowsill. But like all other soft-spoken signs, they transmit silence.
Rafferty clothes her quiet, conceptually rich works in seductive, see-through materials. Gaining substance from the underlying architecture, pastel prints on plexi and shadowy images on acetate reflect images of perplexed onlookers scratching their heads and batting at fake flies.
Vilém Flusser writes that freedom is the ability to commit suicide, “its availability as an option at any moment – not constant rejection, but the constant possibility of rejecting.” Sara Greenberger Rafferty’s exhibition confronts one with this “constant possibility of rejection.” The pieces linger between ethereal (the consistent transparency of surfaces) and concrete (the forceful puncturing of the surfaces with screws). The pure white space of the gallery aids this liminal state. The work oscillates between presence and absence depending on one’s position in space. The imagery itself feels secondary, arbitrary, suggesting the possibility of infinite permutations that yield the same experience.
Dutton Gallery [link] Dallas Art Fair, 2014
Filled with faint traces of everyday objects, Schwartz’s shadowy still lives possess a kind of lightness that acknowledges the dark. As if seen through a tinny x-ray her images play with perception, abstracting the stuff of life into soft, haloed shapes. Spare surfaces and thin washes depict traditionally feminine things: flowers in vases on draped and patterned fabrics, odd keepsakes asymmetrically stacked and on the verge of anti form, bits of ephemera made precious. Like old photos blushing with technicolor, Schwartz’s strange scenes exist awkwardly, as if found in a foreign land–one that is excruciatingly lovely and painfully bright.
To signal memory we employ a blurry image, the hazy focus reflecting the supposed impressional vagaries of memory. Schwarz’s paintings employ this method, yet sidestep the initial sappiness of nostalgia: the subjects of contemplation are too mundane to withstand emotional scrutiny. Domestic subjects become soft stains scrubbed free of narrative detail, crisply hemmed into existence by flat tonalities, which tend to show more character, more will to life, than the wilting items exposed. Humbly sized, the eradicated still lives tenuously collapse the grand narrative of formal abstraction with a humanist concern for the fragile banal.
found foam and cardboard
Miniature monuments. Carefully sorted and stacked, the foam inserts and protective layers form delicate constructions. At first playful and plastically cute the tiny constructs quickly become earnest, attempting to stand on their own as models for places we could potentially invest with a meaning. Yet, the humble origins and material identity refutes ambitious posing for an un-present future. Instead, the feeble stacks mourn themselves: objects with protective custody revoked and symmetrical cavities empty.
Jesse Morgan Barnett
Deep Ellum Windows, Dallas [link] April 2014
Turbomeca appears nonchalant in an abandoned industrial space, but reveals a considered installation utilizing architectural flukes. The requisite row of “paintings” is anything but, a rock meteor shower screwed into the wall, an overwhelmingly sad tar covered mop levitates over a plastic crate, and an Asian figurine faces the wall atop a ziggurat of boxes moping beneath a charred ejector seat photo. A cutout child figure, spilled gold paint dinosaur, and neon splat intentionally unlit offer whimsical counterbalance. This description is unfairly literal, whereas the experience is alchemical: it shouldn’t add up but does, packing conflicting emotions: pain, loss, promise.
~ Karen Weiner
a little bit exactly like
RE gallery + studio, Dallas [link]
If Guston, Tuttle, and Raushenberg impregnated Ernesto Neto and had babies that were art objects, they’d look like the plump, playful, seemingly naïve constructions of Lily Hanson. Hanson combines propped, pop prosthetics and wall hung soft sculptures with cartoonish paintings on cardboard. Despite their propped-upness, Hanson’s sculptural bumps on logs defy gravity. Covered in perky, spandex appendages—part painting, part sculpture—the child-sized works seem strategically protected. Hanson’s paintings, simply presented on unframed cardboard, are learning tools: schematics for adults who need a refresher course on play. Prods rather than props, these images suggest plans for cerebral loosing.
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