10.13.2010

Entanglements

Judy Pfaff at Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe through October 16
No information on the gallery website for this work 

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As an artist who finds inspiration in the order of the grid, I can get a bit twitchy around tangles. Judy Pfaff and Jennifer Steinkamp both have solo exhibitions in Chelsea in which entangled elements are the essence of the work.

Judy Pfaff’s show, Five Decades, I love. No twitching here. In the front gallery of Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe four large wall-hung sculptures push out into the center of the room. I wish the space were larger so that each work could have more breathing room; on the other hand, the proximity of the works pulls you into an intimate relationship with each one. There’s nothing you can do but get up close and personal. And for Pfaff’s work, that means getting to peer past the burgeoning form into the structure of the work itself.
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Detail of the work shown top
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Judy Pfaff: Es Possible, 1989, painted wiggle board and steel, 96 x 144 x 48 inches. Detail below:


The show is a survey, with work from the Seventies on. The hallway features prints, including some with encaustic, which give them a materiality in two dimensions. The back gallery, illuminated by a large skylight, holds  two works, one a single free-hanging work, linear and volumetric, rather more like dimensional drawing than scuplture. Five Decades is up through October 16.
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Judy Pfaff: Los Voces, 1992, lacquered steel, steel, aluminum wire, 96 x 123 x 96 inches
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Jennifer Steinkamp’s installation at Lehman Maupin, on the other hand, made me twitch. Normally I enjoy Steinkamp’s work. This time, not so much (though I love the simplicity of the installation). Three videos, one projected on each of the gallery’s walls, feature video animations of  kinetic interlacements. My first association was to knitting, but as the blue and red strands slithered and undulated across the screen, the associations became more organic—veins and arteries, then worms and eels. It’s not a show you want to see when you’re tripping, I’ll tell you that. It’s up through October 23.


Above and below: Jennifer Steinkamp at Lehman Maupin
 Both works are from the Premature series
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By chance, at the James Cohan Gallery across the street, one of Ingrid Calame’s paintings  featured a similar—and altogether more inviting—tangle. While the exhibition features some of Calame’s tradmark tracings, the artist also showed oil-on-aluminam-panel paintings derived from the markings on a factory floor. The show, Swing Shift, ran through October 9. 
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Ingrid Calame at James Cohan Gallery: Arcelor Mittal Steel Shipping Building One, Right Nos. 274, 275, 277, 2010, oil on aluminum, 36 X 72 inches
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Installation view below 

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7 comments:

Gloria Freshley said...

Hi Joanne, I'm thrilled to have discovered your marvelous blog and wonderful work! Thanks for all of it!! I have a lot of catching up to do...Best...Gloria

Gwendolyn Plunkett said...

Coincidentally, I just posted about Judy Pfaff's work I saw earlier in the summer here in Texas. Funny. Fell in love with her work just recently.

Wendy Wolfe Rodrigue said...

Whoa -- The Judy Pfaff installations are incredible. Thank you so much for sharing the images and your observations, as I will just miss this show.

annell said...

Thank you for the post. It is interesting how the camera captures the work, up close, one becomes aware of how close it is to the grid, or perhaps is grid.

Mary Zeran said...

Judy Pfaff!!!! Yay! I could look at this work for HOURS!

Mery Lynn said...

Are you familiar with Gelah Penn? She's one of this year's Sharpe studio recipients. She's been working in a similar installational vein for many years.

Why do you think entwined is now being promoted?

Joanne Mattera said...

Mery Lynn,
I love Gela's work (www.gelahpenn.com for those of you not familiar).
I don't think this kind of work is necessarily being promoted, but you know how the art world is: something's in the ether and shows get organized. Or maybe it's just a coincidence. Pfaff and Steinkamp are not necessarily kindred spirits unless an editorial or curatorial eye looks at the idea of entanglement, and that painting of Calame's was something of an anomaly in her show. I just connected those dots on my blog.

I mean, look at the post I did on Diamonds last week. There's no "diamond trend," yet I found a lot in just a few days of art viewing.

I think there's a lot of everything.