Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Cosmos

A new group exhibition is going up at Crown Point Press.
The Cosmos: A Group Exhibition runs April 10-May 31, 2008.

The newest work is from Julie Mehretu's second project at Crown Point Press.

The Residual, Julie Mehretu 2007

Unclosed, Julie Mehretu 2007

In quite a few of these works, I keep referring to my favorite John Ashbery line, "Holes are blobs of darkness." Holes are voids and objects, and who knows what is in them along with the darkness? Individual marks can do so many kinds of things. Mehretu has talked about giving each of her marks “individual agency,” and several of the other artists in this show want that too.

Holland Cotter once called Mehretu's work a "conceptual version of history painting." The marks in The Residual and Unclosed are advancing on each other like armies converging, but they are soothed by sanding down and soft fogs of color. Some of the color might refer to glow from distant explosions but it looks so gentle.

Dorothy Napangardi's Sandhills uses individual marks that evoke movements over time (her work involves the Australian Aboriginal concept of Jukurrpa or Dreaming which describes the travels of ancestors and maps the location of living spirits.) It has such a different mood than Mehertu’s operatic orchestration. Each dot could be somebody's footprint, or a whole year spent in one place.

Sandhills, Dorothy Napangardi 2004

Fred Wilson's Bang also traffics in discrete marks. The drip pattern in Bang might refer to the Big Bang, cell division at conception, or deadly bacteria booming in a petri dish, but I like to think of the individual tiny bangs of each drop hitting the page. It's like the bottom of a liquid hourglass. They preserve the time that they took to fall on the page. You can almost hear them. They are very loud.

Bang, Fred Wilson 2004

There is more noise coming from Tom Marioni's Taking Flight, which is a woodcut the artist made by having friends throw darts at a piece of wood. The dart marks look just like silver stars, but once you know how it was made you hear each one hitting the wood. Stars are usually so quiet.

Taking Flight, Tom Marioni 2000

Come see the show, the reception is May 15.

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