Each of the seven paintings in Ruth Root’s most recent show consists of two conjoined parts: 1) a larger angular geometric piece of Plexiglas covered with patterns executed in spray paint and enamel; and 2) a smaller, albeit still sizeable, fabric component also covered with patterns, this time printed digitally onto the fabric.
Here is the scene: in the middle of the space, a giant, untouched Persian rug. Hexagonal patterns in maroons, reds, and blacks across the carpet’s surface area.
About four minutes into Camille Henrot’s short film Grosse Fatigue (2013), a small popup computer window hovers over others in the center of the screen.
Devoid of emotion or inflection, the speaker calls to mind computers and androids such as HAL from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner’s chief replicant Rachel, or even Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Midway through Jimmie Durham’s current retrospective at The Hammer Museum, a 1992 sculpture titled The Guardian (free tickets) offers the following advice to viewers: “May I suggest that we imagine systems in opposition to any concept of opposites?”
One of the first things greeting viewers in Sarah Bramans stellar show at Mitchell-Innes and Nash is half of a white Toyota Celica. Rear fender kissing the ground, stick-straight antennae at a neat 45-degree angle, half a white car points skyward, ready for launch.
Be they in the air (a balloon), something that houses us on the ground (an encampment or inflatable castle), or something that assists us getting places (a tire, a boat), inflatables make membranes over and on our surfaces. They tent us, cushion us, carry us, soften our ground; they dwell in forms that feel unnaturally soft compared to our hard-edged houses and bring awareness to our own edges.
In 2016 we’re trying to make sense of our monuments. Broken monuments, unfaithful monuments.
It’s good to be reminded of our own impermanence. Even better when it’s done with grace and sorcery. The term “hot mess” has that effect, calling to mind the fact that we can be at once ravishingly beautiful and totally disheveled.
In G.S.F.C. 2.0 (Geometrical Sci-Fi Cyborg), hard- edged geometries filled with solid colors converge with organic lines to create vaguely figurative forms. While these figures might possess an actual leg, they’re denied the legibility of a human framework by the rest of their “bodies,” which are comprised of airy geometries loosely tethered in a kinetic fashion. In the painting G.S.F.C. #2, the form appears to be almost squatting, or hopping, with knees spread wide. The sharply bent knee in G.S.F.C #5 lends the subject a rather balletic quality, while the geometries of G.S.F.C.
What exactly is a mechanism capable of changing itself? A mechanism capable of manufacturing its own metamorphosis? Perhaps it is a mechanism that could change itself, possess chameleonic properties, an ability and willingness to ingest multiple terrains.
Few canvases contain so much quiet dazed-out playful drift with such attention to minutia.
An old station wagon with wooden-siding drives across a hilly, forested landscape, grim, grey skies overhead. Telephone wires string together sections of land. In the center of the shot, a lone roadside ice-cream shop, something like a Dairy Queen precursor.
Composer Missy Mazzoli is at the top of her game. Having just premiered her third opera, Proving Up, to wide acclaim, Mazzoli was recently commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera; one of two women ever commissioned by the Met in its 138-year history.
But in exile, from the ruins of your culture, you can build a weapon: a survival weapon.
Porumboius newest film, The Whistlers, (2019) is a wonderful fusion of noir and poetic investigations into the way we communicate. While it tracks the story of a doublecrossing cop (also named Cristi) and several other parties in pursuit of a mattress full of money, its also a much deeper look at the way we apprehend signs and symbols, here via an indigenous whistling language from the Canary Islands. The films title refers to a group of thieves who are adopting the whistling language as a means of secret communication. As with his other films, The Whistlers is a work that is as enigmatic as it is entertaining. At the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, where his newest film The Whistlers was having its North American Premiere, I got to sit down with Porumboiu and talk through some of this film and others, discussing, among other things, social roles his characters play, games, and the shape of this excellent new work.
Anthony Hawley is a multidisciplinary artist and writer. Recent solo projects were presented by the Salina Art Center; CounterCurrent in partnership with the Menil Collection & Aurora Picture Show; and Spazju Kreattiv in Malta. He is author of two full-length collections of poetry, and in 2019, Print the Future Press in Amsterdam will publish his artist book A Book of Spells. Along with violinist Rebecca Fischer, he forms one half The Afield, a performance collaboration for violin, video, electronics, and more. He teaches in the Hunter College MFA Studio Art Program.