Saturday, December 08, 2007

Art Alert: Random Ideas

Sonnabend just might be my favorite Chelsea gallery. And I'm a big fan of Robbins & Becher as is evident in this previous post. I'm hoping to catch this one over the holidays.

Before leaving Calgary I stopped by the Nickle Art Museum to see the faculty show: not stellar interesting moments. In particular Kim Huyhn's work on oceans, which makes apparent the commodities of the Pacific in the placement of small shelves stacked with "goods" against a graphic on the wall that resembles both a blue whale and an outline of the Pacific Ocean. The big surprise was Linda Carreiro. Further to the notion of giving account of ourselves, of indexing (as David Altjmed's recent show undertakes), Carreiro examines the idea of impermanence, the delicacy and to use a Lisa Robertson term "lastingness" of text, and literally of letters themselves. One piece, "Scholia," contains shellacked alphabet pasta heaped on what seemed to be a scale of some kind, but is in fact a small boat made of Shoji paper with charred oars...

Charred oars.

As the catalog suggests the boat and the letters, themselves a kind of weight that speaks to the piles of material which, when taken out en masse from larger bodies (such as the ocean for example) becomes mere commodity. This boat calls to mind the Odyssey, "the importance of translucency, of reading one text through another, and the privilege of text..." (Sowiak).

There is so much to consider here, so much intimated, such dense and suggestive images, the tower of babel with its burnt scrolls which reminded me of Eva Hesse's acrylic skins, but here they are branded, the appendages of history. Text and skin, twisted in spirals, curled in age, the tartness of meaning bleaching the surface. Delicious.