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The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2020

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SEPT 2020 Issue
ArtSeen

Jorinde Voigt

Jorinde Voigt, <em>Potential III</em>, 2020. India ink, gold leaf, pastel, oil pastel, and graphite on paper in artist-designed frame, 55 1/8 x 55 1/8 inches. © Jorinde Voigt. Courtesy the artist and David Nolan Gallery, New York.
Jorinde Voigt, Potential III, 2020. India ink, gold leaf, pastel, oil pastel, and graphite on paper in artist-designed frame, 55 1/8 x 55 1/8 inches. © Jorinde Voigt. Courtesy the artist and David Nolan Gallery, New York.

On View
David Nolan
New York

David Nolan Gallery has moved uptown to a space once occupied by the legendary Bykert Gallery, which launched the careers of such pivotal modern artists as Dorothea Rockburne, Chuck Close, and Barry Le Va. Townhouse elegant, the gallery provides a sense of intimacy that allows viewers to see individual works both up close and together—that is, as an environment. It works particularly well with this show, titled The State of Play, since it involves, as Jorinde Voigt’s work often does, an excursion through a drawn landscape, allowing for motion and reflection, seeing the ending in the beginning and back again.

Voigt conveys her conceptual imaginings in color and line. Her peregrinations lead us through a sea of hand-dyed blue paper that has a Disney-esque underwater appearance in which strange, sometimes almost identifiable forms swim or float. We are left to wonder if the “play” to which the title refers is intended to give license to free association, to the science of the sea, and/or the magic and fun of the movies. Presumably both.

Jorinde Voigt, <em>Potential II</em>, 2020. India ink, gold leaf, pastel, oil pastel, and graphite on paper in artist-designed frame, 55 1/8 x 82 1/4 inches. © Jorinde Voigt. Courtesy the artist and David Nolan Gallery, New York.
Jorinde Voigt, Potential II, 2020. India ink, gold leaf, pastel, oil pastel, and graphite on paper in artist-designed frame, 55 1/8 x 82 1/4 inches. © Jorinde Voigt. Courtesy the artist and David Nolan Gallery, New York.

These images, aptly titled Potential II through VI (all 2020), suggest spermatozoa swimming across the picture planes with large heads propelled by fine filaments. Perhaps they hint at hope for the future.

Voigt’s production seems particularly apt today. Cerebral, allusive, poetic, musical, intangible yet descriptive of substance and how to recognize it. She documents the progression of experience, giving, if not solid form to her thoughts, then instructions on their development, and renders precise documentation. She shows us through patterns how it feels and looks to hear—the variability in our receptiveness.

In some of her drawings, unfortunately not on view here given the limitations of space, Voigt measures time—through notations. She compulsively keeps a diary of her thinking and activities. Tracking the rhythm of looking and thinking can create a kind of aide memoire, setting the action or imaginings in time and place.

In the course of documenting process, she builds a kind of visible rhythm and mimics the landscape step by step. In this show she seems to have created underwater memory caves, the equivalent of memory palaces but in a nautical landscape—a more difficult endeavor since the watery edifice is constantly shifting.

Jorinde Voigt, Immersive Integral Rainbow Study 5, 2019. India ink, gold leaf, pastel, oil pastel, and graphite on paper in artist-designed frame, 27 3/8 x 55 3/8 inches. © Jorinde Voigt. Courtesy the artist and David Nolan Gallery, New York.
Jorinde Voigt, Immersive Integral Rainbow Study 5, 2019. India ink, gold leaf, pastel, oil pastel, and graphite on paper in artist-designed frame, 27 3/8 x 55 3/8 inches. © Jorinde Voigt. Courtesy the artist and David Nolan Gallery, New York.

The sixth work in the show is an anomaly here. Immersive Integral Rainbow Study 5 (2019)—a pure-abstract gold-toned map, it is self-contained and suggestive of the artist’s own circular thinking. Like an aerial view of a landscape, and if one looks closely, it could be viewed as a cut-out with potential for a body in the shape of a garden or highway. Voigt calls works like this “cognitive cartographies.”

In all of these pieces, in various media, we perceive the shapes of sound and the patterns of its progressions, like algorithms and sound waves—“visual scores,” as Voigt would say.

She extends her purview from science to music to math to neurology in a widely inclusive kind of synesthesia. The viewer can follow her and even internalize her associations finding personal equivalents.

Voigt’s all-embracing universe, which taps into the subliminal and the actual unites fiction and imagination, sound and space, science and play, and gives form to the rhythms of life. It offers a seductive path to the future and measures through color and “sound” the emotional tenor of our time. It seems right for today.

Voigt’s drawings are currently on view at the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston until September 30, 2020.

Contributor

Barbara A. MacAdam

Barbara A. MacAdam is a freelance writer and former long-time editor at ARTnews.

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The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2020

All Issues