In this exhibition, three artists create uncanny experiences that simultaneously provide pleasurable distance and slippery intimacy. It is that underlying oscillation that elevates the work to be something more than just aesthetically pleasing. While the show is cool in attitude and palette, a slower read unfolds questions around materiality, seriality and form.
Throughout the exhibition, the artists use mimicry to make allusions. James Collins is the most obvious suspect in using imitation to attract and repel in four paintings. Hung closely together on one wall, they create a semblance of a narrative when read from left to right and are sequentially titled as if they were indexical digital photographs: “01_Painting,” “02_Painting” and so forth. Each work is created using a three-step process that uses an adhesive to affix Tyvek industrial sheathing to create a wave-like pattern onto the canvas—linework that is optically precise at a distance but vibrates resonantly once you step too close.
The photographs and sculptural work of Rachel de Joode use a limited color scheme to create enticing works that are more deliberately self-referential. Joode’s work seems largely based on the formal components of the medium itself and the uneasiness of its attachment to representation at-large when paired with three-dimensional materiality. The most striking image is “Human Hands Showing Frame,” a photograph that optimizes the neutrality of gray. The deadpan is thick on this one, aggressively so, and ties in with the show’s ethos of beauty at first glance and the double take of irony, inquisition and uncertainty thereafter.
Elsewhere in the gallery are two works by Alwin Lay. The photograph “Push-Pin,” which depicts a pushpin inserted into a floating paint roller, and the slowly building ten-minute HD video “Blue Cube” provide the comic and time-based relief to the exhibition. These are two lighter plays on the theme, and serve as a reminder that illusion at its core does entertain, even when we can see the seams. (Brit Barton)
Through August 27 at Document Gallery, 845 West Washington