9/5/16

GRACIELA CASSEL: INTO THE LABYRINTH



Art grounds us in an experience that achieves the imprimatur of truth by combining appearances with layers of artifice. Nowhere is this more evident in an art form such as film that relies heavily upon the senses. Graciela Cassel’s films explore the phenomenological dimensions of urban space: the labyrinth of structures both physical and ephemeral. A city presents itself as a massive and endless procession of edifices either near or far, of streets either pristine or decrepit, and of an endless train of strangers who may, in any given circumstance, emerge from anonymity into intimacy with us. Every distance and every dimension of city life offers up myriad possibilities for future experience. This is why they are easy to romanticize, and why they also contribute to a mythology of creative means. Each of her films begins with a central motif, either a real object or place, or some sensory experience that she is attempting to replicate or synthesize. The situation of spectatorship begins to alter the nature of the motif or event itself, so that our experience is likewise transformed.

Cassel presents the city as a vast array of non-sequential aesthetic events that rely on our ability to receive the real as unreal. Any common spot, cinematically portrayed, has the potential to accrue layers of meaning that only the artist-as-auteur can provide. In one work we begin looking up at the elevated subway platform of Queensboro Plaza, where trains cross the East River between Manhattan and Long Island City in their way to points distant in Astoria, Sunnyside, and beyond. The transit system in New York is immense, over a century old, and Byzantine in its operations. It can come to embody a community of its own, a system of streets not unlike those on the ground, that constantly move people around from one place to another. One can spend hours getting from one place to another. But most people have a routine that takes them to or from home, work, shopping, restaurants, bars, movies, gyms, etc. Time spent in transit can be either spent in introspection or denial, enjoying the mass of persons around us or focusing on our own problems. The transit system is a symbol of the city life it aids, enabling its citizens to interact or ignore what stands as the communal culture itself. A city can be defined equally by its uses, by the spaces that allow us to move within it, and Cassel projects the metaphorical and metaphysical aspects of these spaces. The extension of vision through projective media exemplifies the possibilities of understanding how perception changes the object, place, or event actively perceived. Repetitive vision does not merely reinforce logical constructs, since we are concerned with both existence and essence. Water towers, subways, and elevated train tracks contain the phenomenological complexities that Walt Whitman once called “multitudes” because they reflected the forces within his own self; having been such a product of the city, he saw no difference between his body and the body—the organic life, the pulsing centrifuge of humanity in extremis. Cassel likewise shows us how the exterior life of the city can attain mythical levels of association.



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Every sequence in Cassel’s films offers up a different example of how the everyday interfaces with the ephemeral, and how the function of the film is to project the viewer into a world of labyrinthine proportions instead of translating that world into normal terms. The viewer actively participates with the fabric of the depicted reality, learning to breathe new air. Three of Cassel’s recent films present the best models for the exemplary exposure to such aesthetic forces:
     City Life (2012) is primarily a detournement of the subconscious as reflective of the images of elevated subway platforms entering and leaving Manhattan through Queensboro Plaza, where the straight and stacked main track presents a dense layering of alternating presence, and departing outwards or arriving inwards, mostly at night, the various trains are transformed from practical conveyances into lines of light like a slowly moving comet across the sky or an electric moving through dark water. 
     Accelerate (2013) is a play on motion, though the concept of velocity its title suggests remains only suggestive. The images are all culled from the subways of the city, its tunnels, lights, and the architecture of the trains themselves playing off a spectral view in which the trains themselves seem to merge with their surroundings, creating a cavernous and brooding presence. The film ends with a scene of and endless train of cars shooting on and off the Triboro Bridge on the Astoria side at night, each form like a drop of quicksilver. 

Go To Video

     In The Sky (2015) is a romp in the upper reaches of the city, its roofs, where a secret world is revealed, an elliptical metropolis, punctuated in a most idiosyncratic way by those sentinels of the historical past, water towers, whose use is still prevalent but hearkens to an era, or a century, when the non-united city was so disconnected that not only were there five boroughs but each neighborhood was a county unto itself, and water was guarded building by building. The precincts or wards of the past have all but disappeared and the endless column of buildings creates a frame on the lower level equaled only above by the limit to which our imagination cannot follow. Water towers become animated, floating, or leaping in sections from the solid ground up to an airy firmament, and the birds sing to accompany their flight. 
     Without human agents in view, but only the subjects of their sensory experiences, filled to a degree of overload, Cassel’s films are evidence of an experience we can cumulatively share. Each one depicts not a single scene but myriad points of view merged and morphed into an event that defies simple description. Cassel has said that he work is about portals and labyrinths. They are about an experience that transcends utility, becoming a metaphor for transformation. 
     Cassel alternates between recognizable surroundings and the deeper or less discernible characteristics of a world in which everyone and everything is constantly in motion; the spaces defined by seemingly eternal structures: elevated train trestles, interboro bridges, water towers lining an endless ridge of roofs; and vast subterranean spaces. She drawn us to the tangent between space and idea, where a map unfurls that matches the exact universe we know without being the same environment but instead its doppelganger. The entire fabric of the known has been altered, we have in fact moved into new territory, a maze of discovery that never ends. We are blissfully lost and thank her for it.





6/17/16

A BEAUTIFUL NOISE / THE ART WORK OF AMY SANDS



REVOLUTION V (2015), Monotype, serigraphy. and lasercut on three layers of rice paper, 29 x 29 inches


The art of Amy Sands presents models by which we may interpret the primordial structures and charismatic energy around us. A certain approach to artistic creation belies a felicitous understanding of what is most essential, misunderstood, or obscured in nature, and redirects it to our aesthetic comprehension. Printmaking is about process, and each of the names that are given to the types of prints carry with them the association we have to a particular process and its resulting product, which carries with it the aura of action that preceded it. Yet complexity can enter into the welter of intentions that aid in the conceptualization of these works. If the artist has ideas about her final product that carry over from other creative disciplines, such as sculpture or lace making, then the proliferation of stylistic motifs will dominate the work’s appeal, and will diverge from the assumption of traditional print making practices. This sort of dynamic is actively present in Sands’ work, and her ability to conceive it and progressively transform her medium will not only challenge the viewer but will alter how we think about art. Individually and cumulatively Sands builds an esthetic that envelops the viewer with a connection to medium and its manifestation of specific beauty.
 
To speak of printmaking in general is not to immediately understand how Sands interprets it. Sands does not merely construct a base image from which to create repeated impressions. She makes works that promote an ephemeral quality, with serigraphs and mono prints often combined in the same composite work. Her impetus is to create a layered effect that disingenuously plays out the ephemeral aspects on all of two or three sheets in concert with one another, leaving the viewer to question the constructs by which we judge surface detail—when in fact what she is after is a sort of visual noise.

REVOLUTION VII (2015), Monotype, serigraphy, and lasercut on three layers of rice paper, 15 x 15 inches

The attraction to circles in Sands’ recent work possesses a range of available metaphor. Most notably, these forms were for the most part absent in early bodies of work, which attempted to achieve degrees of ephemerality within a deepening field of backgrounded hues, yet to fill in the middle and fore ground with naturally opposed tonal and graphical forms. Her newest work focuses upon the tonal qualities which illuminated past bodies of work yet were perhaps passed over by viewers in an attempt to read surface markings, dense and diverse as they were, rather than take in the work as a whole. Her new work is a Revolution in more than title. The paper, left to its raw state and dramatized by minute lighting, creates a dissolving silhouette with romantic undertones. The work is achieved in some cases by lasercutting the immensely fragile rice paper so that stacks of similar sheets press into the blank spaces, creating a crush of material, though it’s only where the lattice of each sheet interfaces with the fugitive sources of illumination that its full effect transforms the experience for the viewer. An incandescent quality animates these works, and is especially present in Revolution V, VII, and VIII, in which the use of layered sheets of rice paper creates an effect that glows upon the wall like the lost light of a distant star. The effect of combining, within the same series, works that emit an otherworldly illumination with ones that present the filigreed, seemingly dexterous details of handmade embroidery, compels the use of mere esthetic attention to come out of the shadows.

REVOLUTION VIII (2015), Monotype, serigraphy. and lasercut on three layers of rice paper, 15 x 15 inches


Beauty is elusive despite being constructive in these works. There is a timelessness to circular forms, what in some cases takes on the fossilized appearance of a sand dollar, while in another example her use of laser cuts made through color-infused paper implies the filigreed stitching of lace curtains or stained glass windows. The use of illumination—of real time, durational light, ephemeral, that is to say transient and even fleeting as in nature, is essential to a quality aesthetic encounter with Sands’ work; though given its vulnerability, this would additionally foreshorten the life of her materials. Yet to see them only on a computer screen or in a catalogue is not to give justice to what is strongest in them. The extremely minute aspect of her materials and their reliance upon chromatically charged elements, releasing a cumulative effect through the free flow of forces such as light and wind, like blood or water, projects a quality of charismatic personification, as if nature itself were speaking with us.

4/16/16

OUT OF THE DARK / THE PAINTINGS OF RICHARD M. RIVERA

The act of painting is one of revelation. It does not happen all at once, like a miracle, though that is its effect. If successful it affects the viewer so completely that they are transformed from the inside out. Aesthetic recognition connects a manifestation of the texture and matter of reality to a reasoned understanding of what the world is about, who we are within it, and how a force such as art can alter both, while remaining resolutely unique. It takes time to adjust to the aesthetic at work in an advanced artist’s oeuvre. Artists often connect to an aesthetic that may be removed from the contemporary scene, yet they choose their approach because it represents the dynamic most central to their world view. From a time before the invention of history, when mankind was in its infancy, with limited comprehension of the universe, there was still an inkling that possibilities existed beyond their reach. The night sky revealed tiny sparks of light, campfires suspended in a sea of blackness, like their own campfire defining the safety of home.   
To peer into Richard Rivera’s paintings is like having an intimate view into the mysteries of creation. Daily life does not appear here, nor do politics, art trends, or social attitudes. We are faced with matter itself on a quantum scale. Rivera is an artist for whom the mysteries of existence take the shape of scientifically specific elements common to the universe. Why imagine the essential abstraction originating out of the mind when it surrounds the Earth in all directions infinitely, in a multiplicity of forms and  energies, and is open to individual interpretation as well as having been objectively studied by a range of scientists. Rivera is fascinated with darkness and what can be found there. We are talking specifically here of what Gene Roddenberry called “The Final Frontier,” of the space all around Planet Earth, stretching to infinity in all directions, and not merely the unknown recesses of man’s imagination—though like either scientifically defined or fantastically inspired versions, his own work takes both imagination and time to confront. The active depiction of visual obscurity might seem in opposition the quality of revelation, yet if we consider that knowledge is to be deciphered or sourced rather than merely read; if we understand that comprehension is as imperfect as the senses; and if we can feel our way around an art work and not merely reduce it to ideas or commonsensical platitudes, then it can open up to us and expand both the world and our way of looking at it. This is what Richard Rivera intends in his fascinating, dynamic, and obscure works. 

THE DREAMER AT REST Oil on Sintra, 60 x 48 inches

We find that each of Rivera’s paintings are, in their own way, a different kind of animal. Some resemble organic or subatomic forms photographed through a microscope, or viewed through a periscope deep beneath the surface of the ocean, where native flora and fauna exist in the absence of sunlight. They contain some recognizable forms such as silhouettes of animals, faces peering with a sidelong glance out from behind the frisson of his brushwork, and objects such as a man fishing in a boat, a train car, and many others that mutably merge with the background, floating back and  forth between clarity and obscurity, eyes and fingers slipping into view now and then. There is little attempt to make anthropological forms, though it’s nearly impossible for the aesthetic attention of the viewer to engage with a morass of detail without instinctually organizing it into forms that serve a metaphorical, and subsequently narrative logic. If we can place a thing, however fragmentary and forlorn, into the void, then we can imagine its story.
Consider ‘A Dreamer at Rest’—looking at the picture we see a literal briar patch of active forms, all issuing from a void in the center. The dream itself is indiscernible, full of shifting forms and colors, yet we can imagine that the dreamer at rest is a person fulfilling their conscious life. Dreaming is sometimes a pleasure and sometimes a burden but it is an activity by which we are subconsciously connected to a world in which nature extends beyond reason. The dreamer “at rest” is a person not dreaming, yet the dream—the palimpsest of meaning in metaphysical manifestation—remains constantly active, creating new dreams, giving birth to life that we can only see and communicate with when our eyes are closed.
 A QUANTUM CREATION CONNECTION Oil on Sintra, 60 x 48 inches



A similar dynamic is at work is ‘A Quantum Creation Connection’ though in this case we are regarding less the unconscious and more the actual matter of cosmic events. Rivera regards the universe as not merely an immense void but as an incubator in  which “dark matter” is literally alive. Just because mankind feels it has evolved to a position by which it can perceive and judge all the levels within and beyond itself, it may yet be willfully ignorant of levels of creation that are taking place now on an infinite scale not only beyond the horizon but at subatomic levels within our own atoms. Evolution is a process with its own intentions in mind.   

A final example among the many present in Rivera’s work is one in which the metaphor seems to ground it decisively. “The Emergence of Life” presents us with a monochromatic scene that resembles a grainy black and white photograph of an archeological dig in which Pterodactyl skeletons are sheathed in layers within fossilized rock, their long beaks filled with teeth and their eye sockets staring blankly past the extinction level event that forever froze them in the evolutionary chain. The discovery of these remains was one of the flashpoint moments in our reckoning with the erasure of times past. Not only did it make clear a lot about prehistory that was not known, but it gave us a sense of how completely the event that ended all life was proof that we are still living on the edge of darkness. The Earth floats within a seething cauldron of potentially devastating energies, a space for potential change that could alter the sum total of mankind’s fate at any moment. The universe is immense, beyond complete reckoning. But Richard Rivera gives us clues for how to peer into it, how to live in the dark with courage and joy.     
THE EMERGENCE OF LIFE Oil on Sintra, 60 x 48 inches

9/1/15

Sandra Gottlieb at The New York Hall of Science


October Waves 2013, No. 17

It is easy to misconstrue the photographic work of Sandra Gottlieb, which is entirely non-traditional when it comes to its overall theme, yet at the same time it connects with esthetic pleasures usually reserved for painters. The type of movement found in Gottlieb's photographs, the manner by which she captures it, and the appeal it presents, are unique to her process. There is something very removed from time in her work. She is what most would call a nature photographer but her works are not created in order to adorn the pages of National Geographic. They depict the ocean as a canvas, not as a setting or backdrop for people or sea life to enact the usual dramas. A poet might call her a stenographer of the sublime, annotating the randomness of tidal force while allowing it to impose itself upon the moral consciousness of viewers, who will not be able to peer away from the images no matter how overwhelming they may seem. Primal force is her theme, and man's insignificance before it is what usually gets translated into poetic language rather than stand for itself.  

October Waves 2013, No. 24

In Gottlieb’s photographs there is no attempt at personification, no need for allegory—the ocean is expressive enough all on its own. She has photographed the ocean in several different ways, but in “October Waves” she wanted to avoid any sense of external reality, a focus solely upon the wave sections that are far enough from the shore,mind up close enough to the water’s surface, as to avoid framing it in a physical context that would suggest the romanticism if skyward expanses, which carry their own abstract disposition, or the shoreline, where human agency or at the least competing perspectives, come into play. No people, no birds or even fishes are in evidence, only water, and the roiling, dashing, bubbling dance it makes covering two thirds of the earth’s surface. These scenes are so divorced from our expectations of nature that we are hard pressed to come up with metaphors to aid us. But we don't need to translate Gottlieb’s subject, only to make its material our especial focus. In 30 color images she traces the waves from a mysterious point where the swells originate, and through every gesture, to where they finally give up their energy and fall in the shore like defeated beasts, to be absorbed back into the ground and be replaced by an endless continuum of waves, all feeding the energy of the earth, a watery and immense motor.  The beauty of this we call the sublime because we liken it to an unglimpsed godhead, but like time itself, the tide has no memory, it only moves on.

6/23/14

Jason Dodge at Casey Kaplan Gallery




In many ways a gallery is a stage, lacking only a proscenium and seats. In the case of conceptual artist Jason Dodge, there are acts and there are props, and art emerges between them. For his recent exhibition ‘We Are the Meeting’, Dodge presented us with off-stage events, evidence of suspicious acts, and charismatic objects that connected the aesthetic moment of a gallery visit with an event of significant symbolic order. What appears at first to be a random selection of mundane objects with no correlation to one another, or to any system of implied meaning, begins to reveal layers of narrative verging on the dramaturgical. Dodge is not altogether concerned with providing an experience of clear-cut artistic value; his works do not 'look like' art but more like specimens of evidence at a crime scene or an archeological dig; they are models for the advancement of a form of social anthropology. 









The first room holds a lightning rod, pointing north, with a set of silverware taped to its upper extremity, a gold-colored bed pillow, and a whole metal chimney. The pillow lays on the floor near the other objects and is titled The Mayor Is Sleeping (2013). Its title refers to its use before being exhibited here, as a pillow upon which, for a period of time measured in weeks or months, the mayor of Nurnberg, Germany slept, transferring some charismatic quality with it to the blank and unremarked space of the gallery. Dodge likes objects that have been used by persons outside the exhibition, or objects that are even being used elsewhere and exchanged for new ones to be exhibited. He wants us to feel that we are not exiting life to view art, but that art is a means by which we enter a stage where a greater perspective on life is possible.

The second room is mostly empty except for Carrier (2013) which consists of a large round straw basket with a high voltage flood light clamped onto it, facing a similar lamp attached to a nearby wall and placed so close that the lamps nearly kiss. Along one wall there is a bunch of empty tissue paper boxes each holding a deodorant dispenser, cumulatively titled What we keep doing to ourselves (2013). One can only imagine that Dodge is hinting at the act of using a corporately formulated chemical agent to ‘dry’ ourselves irrespective of possible side effects, when a tissue would do just as well. Despite the slight nod towards a social issue, this piece was meant mainly as a preparation for the transformative experiences on the other side of the door beside which they were placed.

Traveling along the wall from the front office was a length of electrical wire, and through its back wall into the next room, is a thin copper pipe. The wire enters through the south wall and travels around the room counterclockwise until on the north wall it exits through a hole. Another wire enters the room along the western wall until it reaches up to where the other wire exits, where the wire itself ends in a copper fork. The small copper pipe is filled in with hemlock, the poison used to execute Socrates. The uncapped copper pipe, like the electrical wires, is not connected to anything but traverses every room in the gallery, bringing both its physical presence and the implied danger of its exposed poison, into the open air.
Along one side of the third room is a long wall, mostly unlit, where the electrical wire enters and dangles down into a large tank of clear water beside another similar tank with ragged paper towels peeking out from under edges at each end. The work, titled Electric (2013), takes on an added dramatic quality, an air of danger where supposed electricity meets up with a heavy mass of water--a metaphor with elemental qualities that could almost be read as relating to the flood which affected many Chelsea galleries, including Casey Kaplan, during Hurricane Sandy.







The main event in this space seemed to be a work in progress; the random but timed replacement of a set of garishly white fluorescent tubes for rose coloured ones. Groups of each are left upon the floor and a large metal ladder stands ready for use. One never sees the tubes being changed but they obviously are, and the change creates an altered mood, in which we are forced us to see the room as a reflection of colour and not as a mass of details. What is important to Dodge in this instance is the quality of light, which is specifically aesthetic yet commonly taken for granted. We see the action and the objects but we are rarely conscious that light, like electricity or poison, can have presence without being understood.

Just before exiting the room, one may or may not notice a shopping bag filled with various organic groceries that has been left in a far corner of the room, and is a doppelganger to the one placed just inside the entrance to the gallery. These anonymous sculptures combine use value with the generic quality of a stage prop, and together they form a chorus of the commonplace.

‘We Are the Meeting’ presents us with objects and materials that each have a story to tell, and yet in order to make use of the metaphorical power they have as objects, and our physical encounter with them, it is important for Dodge to suggest a story without telling it. Each element here makes a contribution towards our education in understanding how meaning infuses art, and how that degree of meaning is already part of life, and not the sole purview of an art object. We are the audience and we are the committee. A meeting has concluded and the outcome though unsure, is important.


1/1/14

David Adamo at Untitled NY

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Art teaches us about the importance of form, but where does art get its ideas? This is a question that is aptly addressed by the sculpture of David Adamo, whose recent exhibition presented the gallery visitor with a form they might never expect to see in a white cube. Adamo is fascinated by the forms inherent in Nature, and how their implicit realness can not only charm or convince but also obfuscate. Adamo uses sculpture as a form of metaphysical or ontological excavation. He starts with a material and an idea, and with both in hand, he digs at the material or amasses it, shaping and sculpting until forms emerge to fulfill his concept. Nature itself presents a version of the real that clashes with the ideas of art history, displacing them.

Adamo's objective this time was to recreate an object that exists only for a specific class of insects; termites who within certain climates are driven to create massive vertical mounds. The mounds are reduced in size from their manifestation in the wild, where they range in height from 10 to 30 feet. Prior to formal or conceptual reasons for making this series of sculptures, Adamo was struck by the inherent ironies they represented. They are domiciles constructed by a species of insect well known for its destructive abilities, and his versions of them, being decidedly smaller than actual mounds, are small objects made by a large being versus a huge structure fashioned by a multitude of tiny creatures. The result is the same even if the aims are different. 




At first glance, the exhibition had an accidental quality, as if someone had left a bunch of nondescript mounds around the gallery, piles of mysterious matter around which that visitors had to navigate. Due to it being especially hot the day I visited, the gallery had its air conditioners turned up, giving it a sort of aquarium feeling. Adamo's sculptures reminded me of the faux fixtures of fish tanks, replicating coral reefs. Each version of the termite mounds differed from the other, and their arrangement within the gallery itself, which has an especially high ceiling, created a cavernous feel that is magnified by the majestic, if reduced, edifices of his individual termite mound recreations.    

The physical ordering of each mound within the gallery was done with regard to the gallery going experience. With nothing on the gallery walls, and the lights turned to a mere glimmer, the mounds each took on a charged presence. They were fabricated from Zellan, a type of synthetic porcelain which, mixed together with a single pigment and otherwise left in the rawest state possible, mimics the appearance of the termite mounds. The first of them were a pair of ‘cathedral’ mounds, named after the type of termite that lives within them, and they are typically formed into rib-like structures that resemble bony hands or the spires atop churches. "Untitled/Cathedral F" (2013) was placed right within the aperture of the door of the main gallery with little room left to pass, visitors had to inch by, and they had little perspective on what the forms were until they emerged into a wide open space between the door and the rear of the gallery, which was organized into a random assortment of 'cathedral' and ‘magnetic’ mounds, some of them pigmented in brown or gold or gray, one even in a cool blue. The magnetic mounds, such as "Untitled/Magnetic E" (2013) are round at the bottom but flatten as they lead upward, so that the top resembles the ridge of a dinosaur's back.




I was struck by the notion that Adamo's fascination with the natural might be a foil for envy, that he is ambivalent between the desire to create a recognition of real things that fall outside everyday experience and the need to create artistically impressive objects. Though many people may understand that termites create mounds, many have never seen them in person, so we must take it on Adamo's knowledge that they are so. His installation reminded me of a childhood trip to the Grand Canyon, in particular a stretch called the Valley of Monuments, bordered on each side by a mountain, a suspended boulder, and a vista of more ridges and stones to come. It was the only time I felt we were breathing the same air as these objects; that we were in time instead of merely passing time. I felt this again with Adamo's sculpture, and the air was good.

Published in Frieze Magazine, January 2014 


9/1/13

Dike Blair at Feature Inc, Frieze Magazine, September 2013




Approaching the art of Dike Blair is no ordinary task. His work is monumental and oblique, sleek and detail oriented, and it maintains its distance from any standard aesthetic response. The works in Blair's recent solo exhibition were two sculptural installations paired with a series of gouache paintings. Hard Shadows (2012) and Dance Dance Dance (2011) are comprised of a pair and a trio of packing crates, which are painted white and then used as both the container and the support structure for a set of abstract gouache paintings on paper. The psychedelic qualities of his paintings alternately reference transcendental mysticism, Modernist architecture, and the suggestively idealistic abstract imagery most commonly associated with iTunes Visualizers, which set whichever music is being played to a randomly generated depiction of imagined cosmological phenomena.
     Blair is interested in creating a visual event that transforms into a visceral one. As we look at the gouache that is hung upon the front of the box, we become conscious of how the specific elements of the painting have been used to suggest further surface details that wind around each side of the box and even play upon the interior surface, which is opened and laid upon the floor, inside face up, as if to provide every detail possible in the dramaturgical explication of meaning. For instance, Dance Dance Dance begins with three boxes, two of which remain closed and one open on one side. The interior of the lip of the box is painted in a light red mist with three white squares peeking out, like stones in a path that carry some interior illumination. They lead, like the paintings on the outside, straight back inside the box, which is empty, and merely throws us back out to confront yet again the variety of pictorial references that melt, dance, and glower across the broad face of the box like unseen moods hiding secret knowledge, or extreme changes in weather that deny understanding.
     Adding to the experience of this exhibition are three neat little gouaches that explore how an interest in visual phenomena can draw the eye towards the most minute of pictorially defined moments. They portray the passive movement of light through a bathroom window or stall, with only vague forms beyond the barrier and the knowledge that the subject of the image is a space defined by intimacy where the necessary functions of the body are attended to in a routine fashion. These images were produced from photographs the artist took while on a trip to Japan, and they reflect his own heady fascination with space, illumination, and the difference in aesthetic and use value between spatial and sensory experiences in foreign places versus familiar ones. Blair's achievement is that we never perceive these bathrooms as mere functional environments, just as his boxes are transformed from utilitarian containers of value into vessels of potential meaning.


BIO AND INFO

David Gibson is a writer and curator native-born and bred in New York City, the New York Art World, and the greater world extending in all directions. He and Jennifer Junkermeier recently curated the exhibition “Beauty’s Burden” at The Ernest Rubenstein Gallery of the Educational Alliance. He is availlable to write essays for artist and gallery websites and catalogues.