Within a derelict industrial warehouse -populating a rust covered room of their own- stand Karen Lehmann’s slight but sturdy, planar sculptures made of plaster and burlap. Like grounded ghosts are her architectural apparitions. Slightly larger than body sized, their hollows act as hiding places within a dim and dingy, labyrinth. Created on site, each work exudes a sense of urgency: chalky skins are pocked with impressions of the artist’s hands, fingers and limbs; traces of swirled and pushed plaster stilled as wet surfaces set. These fragile bodies act as semiprivate confessionals and temporary spaces of reprieve for transient guests.
Filled with faint traces of everyday objects, Schwartz’s shadowy still lives possess a kind of lightness that acknowledges the dark. As if seen through a tinny x-ray her images play with perception, abstracting the stuff of life into soft, haloed shapes. Spare surfaces and thin washes depict traditionally feminine things: flowers in vases on draped and patterned fabrics, odd keepsakes asymmetrically stacked and on the verge of anti form, bits of ephemera made precious. Like old photos blushing with technicolor, Schwartz’s strange scenes exist awkwardly, as if found in a foreign land–one that is excruciatingly lovely and painfully bright.
To signal memory we employ a blurry image, the hazy focus reflecting the supposed impressional vagaries of memory. Schwarz’s paintings employ this method, yet sidestep the initial sappiness of nostalgia: the subjects of contemplation are too mundane to withstand emotional scrutiny. Domestic subjects become soft stains scrubbed free of narrative detail, crisply hemmed into existence by flat tonalities, which tend to show more character, more will to life, than the wilting items exposed. Humbly sized, the eradicated still lives tenuously collapse the grand narrative of formal abstraction with a humanist concern for the fragile banal.
images courtesy of Dutton Gallery
Ruznic’s intimate, multi-layered ink drawings ooze monumental awkwardness and fragility. They make me wonder if Ruznic is ok, serving as conduit for such a deluge of psychological content.
Like book pages, her works on paper draw viewers in for a close read. Without glass or frame to mediate, formalize or protect, her figurative images still a multitude of animated emotional states. In them, patches of miniature pattern work offer decorative skins to otherwise fragmented and floating, decontextualized bodies; spindly limbs dangle from pools of emotion. Not automatic or surreal, Ruznic’s works are portraits that conflate our sometimes sweet and sometimes monstrous humanity.
a little bit exactly like
RE gallery + studio, Dallas [link]
If Guston, Tuttle, and Raushenberg impregnated Ernesto Neto and had babies that were art objects, they’d look like the plump, playful, seemingly naïve constructions of Lily Hanson. Hanson combines propped, pop prosthetics and wall hung soft sculptures with cartoonish paintings on cardboard. Despite their propped-upness, Hanson’s sculptural bumps on logs defy gravity. Covered in perky, spandex appendages—part painting, part sculpture—the child-sized works seem strategically protected. Hanson’s paintings, simply presented on unframed cardboard, are learning tools: schematics for adults who need a refresher course on play. Prods rather than props, these images suggest plans for cerebral loosing.