ZABRISKIE GALLERY

 
 

Take Out


This group exhibition culls work by a handful of contemporary artists whose work incorporates some type of physical reductive process. Artists include Noriko Ambe, Markus Baenziger, Robin Charles Clark, Marla Hlady, Paul de Guzman, and Courtney Smith.

As Gordon Matta-Clark demonstrated in his structural "interventions" from the 1970's, destruction - or "reconstruction," if one prefers - can be quite beautiful. In subtle variations of the theme, and though not in the traditional sense of reductive sculpture, the artists in this exhibition employ the simple process of removal to create works that are less than common. Artists like Paul de Guzman, Courtney Smith, and Noriko Ambe use traditional cutting and gutting techniques that transform the source object into elegant and less practical inventions. Using varying-sized rectangles, Guzman dissects and carves out the pages of thick monographs (like those regularly churned out by Phaidon or Taschen) to reveal an interior architecture latent in the books. The results resemble cross sections of modern buildings framed by the book covers. Courtney Smith similarly reveals the hidden "anatomy" of a desk or chair by carving and routing into the contours of existing furniture, leaving a trail of floral-like shapes and patterns newly ingrained. Also using books and papers, Noriko Ambe cuts keenly through pages and thick reams to reveal a landscape reminiscent of computer-generated topographical models.

Marla Hlady removes all the fantasy associated with mechanical toys by stripping them down to a state where function is more emphasized, leaving the exposed gears and levers to operate without façade or embellishment. These whimsical little machines resemble dated robots capable of performing only rudimentary tasks while emitting noisy barks and grunts. In his watercolors, Markus Baenziger confronts fantasies of another sort, having created a series of paintings that mimic scratch 'n' win lottery tickets. They depict symbols of luck and elusiveness with the numbers revealed, where Baenziger has manually scratched and scraped away. In a more obsessive-compulsive manner, Robin Charles Clark carefully scrapes ink away from the surfaces of dollar bills, leaving only green visual remnants of Thomas Jefferson's eyes or creating whole new shapes altogether. The removed ink is subsequently stored in test tubes, perhaps referencing alchemic transformation, or denoting the arbitrariness of monetary representation and value.

This exhibition was curated by Trong G. Nguyen.

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