Monday, January 8, 2007

Material for the Making at Elizabeth Dee

Group show at Elizabeth Dee curated by new director Jenny Moore include works compiled together based on the theme of memory and subjective reality, re-presentation and re-making of things and memories that have already occurred and existed before.
Strongest work is Shaving Cream Series, a strip of small Polaroid photographs mounted horizontally by Gail Thacker, which includes images of performance artist Rafael Sanchez covered in shaving cream frolicking around with a swimming ducky float around his waist and a hat adorned with what seems to be a wired sculpture resembling baby toys that hang over a baby crib and rotate as it plays music and lulls the baby to sleep. It seems to recall psychoanalytical references of oedipal desires, fear of circumcision (the body lathered in shaving cream preparing to be razored), objects of infantile dependence such as the float and the crib toy. Gail Thacker manipulated the surface of the photographic material, rematerializing and texturing it through a "curing" process which makes it hazy and out of focus, much like our memories that are never truly rendered to the detail of its actuality.
In the back room is Kerry Tribe's video Near Miss, a recreation of an actual incident where her car spins on the highway in the middle of a snowstorm. I did not realize it was a set up recording until I came back into the main room and there was a photograph of the production process, the car mounted on top of a platform with a snow making machine and bright lighting. The video stirs the urgency and anticipation of an accident with the steady rhythm of the windshield wipers, as if to negate and comfort the anxiety of the viewer. In the end the car makes a slow, barely noticeable spin.
Kori Newkirk is well known for his use of pomade (a waxy hair gel) in paintings and other mediums. With themes of race and the transience of a short lived life he creates cut out snowflakes pasted around the gallery, scattered in different sizes but all in the same color black, against the white wall, seeming to hint at race differences between white and black. It reminded me of the appropriation of meaning Masaru Emoto gives to his snowflakes be exposing them to human conditions and emotional verbage.
Weakest work IMO was Mai Braun’s sculptures made of materials that have been deconstructed and reproduced to become an artistic object molded by the hands of the artist. A formless pastel yellow blob sits on a pedestal, an oversized textured snot meant to be abstract and unique in its “creating a symbiotic relationship between the image that inspired it and the form that follows after”. It is interesting that she has used found objects and gave them a new life as non-functional commodities but the lack of substance in the resulting form was tasteless and mute.

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