Sunday, April 27, 2014

re re re redacted

REDACTED is an exploration of the way contemporary artists amend and transform 
original content through alterations, erasures, reductions and cutaways in the visual experience. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word redact as “to edit”, 
as in preparing a document for publication. But the term has acquired broader 
meaning since the 20th century, inferring acts, often political, of obfuscation, 
disinformation, censorship and conspiracy.

foreground: Stacy Fisher; background: Jonathan Callan

Today, the word “redacted” has implications that stretch beyond blacked out C.I.A. documents. Deletions or disinformation – redactions – in nonfiction can have 
the effect of turning truth into fantasy and excision or concealment in 
written, auditory, or film and video material might alter history, 
obscure entire hypotheses or convert, disguise 
or transform content. 


In the visual brain, imagery can be eclipsed by ocular migraines or sun blindness resulting in a redacted visual field, and in psychology, trauma can result in whole areas of memory that cease to be accessible. 

But since 1953, when Robert Rauschenberg spent that long month erasing one of Willem de Kooning’s favorite drawings, the idea of redaction has been central to the concept of altered content in visual art. 

Eric Dever’s serial paintings examine strict color equations. Elemental and exacting, Dever limits his color use to fixed degreesof Napthol scarlet, Titanium white and Ivory black. The color range – stupefying in its expansiveness – pulses in fields of geometric precision. 

Eric Dever installation; Stacy Fisher's Black and White Objects foreground
NSIBTW-34, 2014, courtesy Berry Campbell Gallery

The act of erasing, transmuting or removing subject matter is something that comes naturally to the visual artist -- one might even posit that it is an inevitable part of the creative process. Josh Blackwell transforms the lowly plastic bag into luscious, fetishized objects – repositories, if you will, that revitalize some of our most 
ubiquitous cultural scraps.

Josh Blackwell, Plastic Basket (Crystal), 2013

A native of Louisiana, Blackwell was witness to Katrina as well as the massive 
debris field left in its wake, and the experience caused a shift in his thinking. 
Enter the plastic bag, so vilified in modern culture yet so indispensible 
to commerce, reanimated with sumptuous fields of ornamentation. 

Josh Blackwell
Linda Miller explores negative space in a series of graphite bowls that act as 
surrogates for corporeality, identity, presence and absence.

Linda Miller, Ashes and Air, 2013-2014

In Brian Gaman’s Untitled, the visual field is so deeply in focus that sight itself is recalibrated to the infinite. 

Brian Gaman, Untitled, 2014

Stacy Fisher, Black and White Objects, 2009

Stacy Fisher conceals the objecthood within her sculpture to such a degree it seems whole concepts might be buried within her inky, bulging forms.

Lauren Luloff, Flame Violet with Window, 2013, Foley Barn, 2012

Lauren Luloff employs a similar resourcefulness in the use of recycled bed sheets 
that serve as her blank canvasses. Her study of textile design and block printing 
in India come full circle here, manifest in patchwork paintings that are 
variously stretched over frames or hung from the ceiling.

Leaf, 2014

Luloff paints in oils or with a bleachy composite, selectively removing pigment 
in splashy, reflexive drawings that are assembled in compositions of bold pastiches, translucent scrim and gossamer swathes of fabric.
Ryan Wallace, Redacted 2.14 I, 2013, courtesy Susan Inglett Gallery

In Ryan Wallace’s Redactor series, the vestiges of earlier works assemble like DNA strands as they form a wholly new but relational family of paintings in which studio scraps accumulate across the painting surface like glacial striations.

Bonnie Rychlak, Formless No. 5 and Formless No. 1

Bonnie Rychlak's use of recycled wax is also regenerative.
As a raw material, wax is distinctively malleable, and here it retains the evidence
of former works in composites of marbled color bands that shift from sea foam
to translucent jade green.

Sharon Butler (foreground), Air quality control, 2013

Sharon Butler’s paintings are an ode to the new casualism (a term she coined) – a concept linked aesthetically to wabi sabi – the Japanese embracement 
of imperfection or impermanence.

Cement Mixer, 2012
Butler paints on unstretched or partially stretched raw canvas that is often a helter skelter of staples, bare stretcher bars and loose threads. But her imagery, at once highly specific and at the same time largely unidentifiable, asserts a structural, even architectural level of observation that charges the pictorial space with positive and negative visual data.

Jim Lee, Untitled (Rose Edge Relief), 2013, courtesy Nicelle Beauchene Gallery

Jim Lee’s paintings assume a somewhat parallel process, with imagery that is inseparable from action.

Untitled, (Tuck and Cover), 2012, courtesy Nicelle Beauchene Gallery

Defining the picture field and its content with a frankness that is physical, experimental 
and utterly unique in form, Lee’s works examine the formal aspects 
of painting and sculpture while quietly serving to overthrow them.

Jonathan Callan, Zurbaran's Color Plates, 2001, courtesy Josee Bienvenu Gallery

 In Jonathan Callan’s arresting work, Zurbaran’s Color Plates,
the artist transfigures the book form into a revelation of 
component parts, chiseling away at its original content until 
it is transformed into his own, in an act of both 
insolence and intellectual finesse.

Ross Watts, Journey to the East, 2014, courtesy Sara Nightingale Gallery

Likewise, RossWatts has mined the written word in Journey to the East in which eleven Hermann Hesse novels are imbedded in concrete bricks of beach sand collected from the shoreline of his Long Island home. 

For Watts, the process is a conundrum that places both his art as well as Hesse’s content, in peril.

Ryan Steadman, Yves at Brunch, 2014

Ryan Steadman, installation view
Ryan Steadman’s ersatz book forms act as painterly doppelgangers -- proxies 
for the written word. At first glance the paintings look like collectibles in book form 
but there are few, if any, visible words -- no title, no author and no publisher – only 
the form itself. Steadman’s paintings offer a whimsical departure 
from the information overload of our time.

Stefana McClure, Redacted (Enhanced Techniques), 2010, courtesy Josee Bienvenu Gallery

Stefana McClure fragments aspects of language in knitted compositions made from surreptitious reportings such as shredded CIA documents. 

The declassified papers, heavily redacted, detail the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” such as waterboarding, one of this country’s most disturbing and clandestine episodes. Her interventions are both beguiling and unnerving.

Stefana McClure, possible side effects may include (Zoloft), 2010, courtesy Josee Bienvenu Gallery

McClure transforms the disclaimers included in every prescription of Zoloft, the world's most prescribed anti-depressant, in Side Effects May Include (Zoloft), above, in a complex examination of the pharmaceutical industry.

Mathias Schmeid, Background, 2006

In Background, Mathias Schmeid explores another media form altogether – the adult magazine. His facile knife work transfigures the imagery and its controversial nature into a delicate waterfall of cascading lines. 

Tim Spelios, Saint Sebastian, 2009

Tim Spelios reorders the history of art in collages that deftly rearrange the visual information and the context held within in some of the most celebrated paintings of the western world.
Letha Wilson, Brown's Park Violet, 2013

And Letha Wilson’s photographic works of the American west reveal the majesty of our geologic past while fracturing it with fierce, tactical interdictions. Her use of poured concrete, slices of lumber and sharp cutaways lend a raw physicality to the artist’s travel photos, as if they have actually been morphed into a gorge along the Colorado River.

2 great reviews:

Karin Lipson in the New York Times

Gabrielle Selz on Hamptons Art Hub


April 13 – June 1, 2014