Monday, September 3, 2012

streaming: ground and glimmer

David Kennedy-Cutler, L: detail of Total Rupture; C: Hollow Ground; R: Elise Ferguson, Crab X
David Kennedy-Cutler and Elise Ferguson
Halsey McKay
August 31 - September 30

Late summer is a time for blue moons, deep breathing and a little reflection -- especially here on the East End. This month there are few places better to take it all in than Halsey McKay, whose end-of-season exhibit of works by David Kennedy-Cutler and Elise Ferguson is an absolute must. Both artists create works that are fresh and optical, with widely divergent results. Where Ferguson is tactile and geometric, Kennedy-Cutler's work  is fluid, atmospheric and nearly alchemistic in its methodology.

Elise Ferguson, Green Ledger, 2012, pigmented plaster on MDF panel, 24 x 18"

Lending to the architectural mood of Elise Ferguson's work, her use of pigmented plaster goes a long way toward bas relief and the sort of streamlined facades typical of post-modern architecture. Constructed as much as they are painted, in her two-dimensional works, shapes of color are buttressed against other shapes of color as they coalesce into rhythmic, pulsing abstractions. X's and o's, stripes and chevrons, networks of lines, rhomboids and crisscrossing vectors commingle in such close proximity they seem to be incised into the surface. 

Elise Ferguson, Zipper Zag, 2012, pigmented plaster on MDF panel, 24 x 18"

Where color, surface and line meet formally, Ferguson's pictorial gumption drives them well beyond ordinary logic. While the works possess a sense of quietness, structurally they are robust, with a spatial tension among component parts that is dramatic and sumptuous. 

Incidents of their making accumulate at junctures across the surface, revealing an intuitive and visceral process.

C-Sticks, 2011, Pigmented plaster on MDF panel, 24 x 18"

Coverlet, 2012, pigmented plaster, ink on MDF panel, 24 x 18"

L: Five Circles (mustard), R: Five Circles Cross Point, both 2012, pigmented plaster on MDF panel, 18 x 24"

Elise Ferguson, works on paper

Relative to Ferguson's structured corporeality, Kennedy-Cutler's sculptures are intangible --  even fugitive -- in context. 

F: detail, Kennedy-Cutler's Hollow Ground, 2011

Kennedy-Cutler's monoliths stand in the main gallery like sentinels from some future world. They're made from a soup of epoxy resins, Plexiglas and impermanent/permanent things (i.e., things in which the intended use is short-lived, while the ecological footprint is eternal) like inkjet prints, compact discs, and bits of technological debris. 

David Kennedy-Cutler, detail, Hollow Ground, 2011, MDF, UV epoxy resin, archival inkjet prints, 91 x 29 x 19"

Put altogether, the elements swim in a sort of surrealistic ooze, congealing into form that is downright Delphic in its unknowability.

Detail: Double Process Rainbow, 2011

Not to be completely over the top -- but the works are enigmatic and seductive, smart and weird, somewhat apocalyptic and very beautiful. 

Of course, beauty is subjective, and Kennedy-Cutler certainly gets it. On the flip side of the sculptures are the oily slicks on the Gowanus Canal, the Gulf or a hundred other ecological disaster sites, the mountains of plastic debris we've left behind, or -- even less optimistically -- the breaking circumference around our polar ice caps. Apocalyptic, in deed.

L-R: Total Rupture, 2011, Double Process Rainbow, 2011, Hollow Ground, 2011

Still, among the rippled surfaces and translucent walls of these enigmatic forms, we bounce from images of sweet brickle candy to broken glass to petroleum sludge, a mighty conceptual swing that gives the work its sharp edges as well as the language -- also fluid in nature -- to talk about it. 

ARENA 1, 2012, ink on paper, 28 1/2 x 21 1/2"

Upstairs, Kennedy-Cutler's works on paper are ferociously metaphysical -- astral, even. Transient and illusive, the image field here is animated with breaking, sinking, crashing and the resounding sense of falling, like the splintering of so many cathedral windows. 

In a way, the images are aural, making quiet music amid the clinking of shattered glass, crackling ice, melted sugar.

ARENA IV, 2012, ink on paper, 28 1/2 x 21 1/2"

This is a memorable show that you won't want to miss. Two remarkable young artists, on view through September 30th.

1 comment:

Shane Sweet said...

love the Kennedy works.