Nick Mauss works at the interstices between drawing, installation, and writing, as a way to generate a passage between mediums, affects, and technique. While visually Mauss’ approach is said to traverse figuration and abstraction, it is more likely that it suggests a third way, a poetics in which these categories become fraught.
Blank spaces and frames reserve areas where images have already been or have yet to appear. The silence of these spaces evokes an anticipation and repression of images which are caught on the surface of the work in a stage of becoming. The blank spaces can only be filled by desire or with bodies – of the viewer confronting the traces of the hand. “Special effects”: flares, blurs, hazes, veils, and blind spots crossing the field of vision emphasize a conflicted access to the congealing picture from within the work as well as from the outside. Yet there is a sense that these various stuttering drawings glancing across different materials are looking for the drawing that is already in the space, “written in the wind”, or in particular gestures and movements.
Recently, Mauss has been working with glaze painted on ceramic tablets. The process-from painting through firing-is necessarily “blind”, as the colors, intensities, and layering transform rather unpredictably. This blindness inserts a gap into painting, which also becomes a way of recording an undecideability of the image, where the delay in time between the making of the mark and its fired visibility allows for a simultaneous immediacy and slowness. As Mauss has said of his drawings, “Weeks, or even years, after beginning a drawing, I might return to it and not recognize it anymore, or know how to relate to what is already there, so then I work with it as something alien. Eventually as the marks cohere on the page, I like the sense that they seem to have been applied from the front and from behind, like a memory that can’t remember.”
At Indipendenza Studio, Mauss presents new works in ceramic, sculpture, and drawings on paper and fabric.
until 12 January, 2013
Images courtesy of Kerlin Gallery, Dublin and Merlin James.
‘…James takes painting’s multiple and overlapping histories partly as his subject matter and partly as a point of departure. The paintings are stylistically promiscuous – it is hard to describe or even imagine a “typical James.” Yet seen together they not only make perfect sense but also articulate something of the infinite freedom and the stubborn vitality of the medium.’
(Matthew Higgs, Art Forum, December 2011.)
In recent years Merlin James has made paintings often on semi-transparent supports, and with picture frames that are integral to the work. These quasi-conventional frames, and the stretcher bar structures partly visible through them, may be fabricated from humble, seemingly salvaged materials, pressed into service as ‘fancy’, high-art objects.
Extending James’s long-standing investigations into the nature of painting, the works continue to feature his particular erotic, topographic, architectural or abstract motifs – images that both function as elements in his aesthetic experiment and build to a poetic account of human experience. Writing in Frieze (November 2011), Ara Merjian notes how in James the environment is presented ‘through a baffle of layers both material and metaphysical’ in work that is ‘stubbornly, mischievously paradoxical’ and that ‘vacillates between the cerebral and the basic stuff of paint’.
James also continues to paint on canvas, frequently using hair, sawdust and other unconventional substances as well as paint. Works may be apparently abstract, or may feature diverse ‘subjects’ – heads, animals, emblematic figures, canals, bridges, skies. Small vernacular buildings of uncertain vintage – mills, homesteads, old factories, tower-blocks – are often scattered through James’ pictures, either as representations in paint or as miniature ‘model’ buildings made from wood off-cuts and fragments and physically incorporated into the work. Expansive spaces are evoked, and the vistas can suggest dream- or memoryscapes, or landscapes seen in passing.
Link: Merlin James at Kerlin
Images courtesy of Praz-Delavallade, Paris
Praz-Delavallade is proud to present the first exhibition in France of Gabriel Hartley, «Slap», that will comprise a new set of oil and spray-painted canvases.
Gabriel Hartley’s paintings strike the viewer with immediacy and vigour. Even though the paintings are heavily worked, they avoid incertitude. The paint is scraped, scored, cut and allowed to congeal, but the use of carefully applied spray paint helps to mask and flatten the surface, while paradoxically, highlighting the blemishes. The spray paint acts as both a concealer and an enhancer. The show’s title «Slap» draws on this dichotomy: you can think of a slap in your face, but also of the British expression «to put some slap on», meaning the use of makeup.
Hartley’s concise one-word titles always hint at different readings of these seemingly abstract paintings: like «Teeter» which refers to the vacillating attitudes or positions, as well as the physical appearance of the paintings, where they at times look as though they are on the verge of dissolving. «Pick» draws on these different readings as well, as it suggests an allowance to pick what you want to see. Again while also referencing a physical act, the paint being picked at; a process not generally associated with painting. «Pound» also draws on an action more commonly associated with sculpture, but which feels at home with the way the paint is forced into place.
Light is a consistent subject matter in Hartley’s paintings. From references to the evanescent radiance of Turner or Monet to the digital glow of computer generated imagery, a history of light effects seems to be interwoven in all of the paintings. This is extended into his other practices. His sculptures are formed from color paper that is torn and folded, and then set in resin. They mix the heaviness of metal with an ethereal quality. His recent series of digital prints is made by crumpling up drawings, paintings and pieces of paper, scanning them, and then printing them on colored paper. This complex regime echoes the actions used in the production of the artist’s other media.
Gabriel Hartley (born in 1981), lives and works in London. He holds a BA from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London and a Post Graduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools, London. He is represented by Praz-Delavallade in Paris and Foxy Production in New York.
Unlike many other artists (or, you could say: Against a general condition of subjectivity formation in neoliberal Germany—in which we are all financially imbricated—), Michaela Eichwald doesn’t need to inhabit an escape-hatch personality shell to make herself feel real.
The heat generated by her body against this still always-present limitation, which is also her hand against the repellant support surface, which is also the inability that comes out as refusal to make a “smoothness” that is really relentless financial striation that is also what many people mean to do when they position themselves in a network of “friends.” Michaela Eichwald will not give you the breakdown you seek as you attempt to find a readily exploitable set of data points to become “friends” with. It is everything and it is raining and you slip and fall down the stairs.
At Mathew, Michaela Eichwald will show new paintings.