Different Strokes at Im N Ilby Rachel Youens
Benicia Gantner, Seth Kaufman, Dean Smith, Elizabeth Simonian, Carolee Toon, Carrie Ungerman, Andre Yi. Curated by Susan Joyce
The artists in this show have been selected for works that “redefine traditional drawing techniques.” Precisely by making technique its central focus, the show anticipates the challenge of what drawing can be: thought in action. While some of these works provide hints for larger projects, others are full-fledged statements accomplished through the drawing medium itself. An aesthetic of exquisiteness through specialized investigations into mark making pervades the mood of the show.
Among the most ambitious works is Benicia Gantner’s iconic wall drawing of a single morning glory—drawn in white chalk on a warm gray, it hovers suspended, untouched and elegant. By contrast, the window installation of Elizabeth Simonian, the only New York artist represented, redefines drawing technique through a new material. Rows of tape looped to form enfoldments reflect the works’ vigor, and give it an expressionist aftereffect. Like Simonian, Carrie Ungerman links drawing and sculpture in order to both deform space and play with systems of repetition and chance. Carolee Toon creates harmonies with suspended and illusory distanced marks whose whispering tenaciousness tackles the space surrounding them, while Dean Smith’s dense drawings express an equilibrium of density with a direct, logical mark making.
Im n Il, March 2001
Rachel Youens is a painter, writer, and teacher who lives in Brooklyn.