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(2) of-step with the surrounding neighbourhood
Guy Benfield Mother Door Spirit Level and (though not so much to pass up an opportunity
GeorGe BarBer The Long Commute, Jack the to run a 16-day revolving exhibition series
Pelican Presents marking ‘the opening of the nearby new Museum’).
Judit reigl’s abstract Guano paintings were
i’ve seen some excellent and some unabashedly the real find here (Guano-Menhir, 1959-63, is
terrible exhibitions at Williamsburg’s Jack a lacerated arching stonelike monolith emerging
the Pelican, and through them all have retained from a dark ground that is rather pleasing and
an undying affection for the space. few other substantial with its heavily worked and
galleries can boast such a seat-of-the-pants textured surface), along with works by Knox
and balls-to-the-wall attitude, as the current Martin and Boris lurie. Martin, a onetime
exhibitions of Commonwealthers Guy Benfield teacher of robert rauschenberg, creates work
and George Barber yet again prove. Benfield’s that is sly and beautiful, and which augured a
diy pottery studio installation, replete with whole new generation of american abstraction.
his pseudo-spiritual collages and materially
incongruous assemblages (foam, mirror, vulvic
cast), produce the scope of visceral and
conceptual titillation one expects from the
Pelican. Benfield’s a recent transplant to
Brooklyn and came into artistic maturity in
his native australia in the early 1990s, so we
can forgive his work for suffering from an
incidental trendiness (all that day-Glo,
metallic spray paint and greyscale collage
sure looks Sterling ruby to me), but only up
to a point…
The real treat came in finding english film
and video artist Barber occupying the back
room of the gallery with two installations,
titled The Blue Commute and The Long Commute
(both 2007), in which Mdf ellipses act as
screens to bird’s-eye footage of cars circling
in endless loops. These works reflect Barber’s
recent shift away from the ‘scratch’ videos
that made him such a seminal practitioner in
the Thatcher years towards quasi-situational
and frequently automotive works (works, i might
add, that led Art Monthly to call him ‘the
Henry ford of independent video’). While i (3)
found Barber’s minimal presentation and pared- CaMeron MarTin, eleven rivington
down, even pathetic, symbology to make for a
rather appropriate treatment of a middle-class Just two months and one exhibition after
British ‘anybody’, as he puts it, there was a opening last September, eleven rivington were
part of me that indulged in the low-tech, invited to show at nada art fair in Miami,
quasi-videogame tweeness of the footage and which amply demonstrates the savvy of this
actually empathised with those small, infinitely recent emigré to the lower east Side. for their
circling commuters. only later did i realise second show, Cameron Martin displayed three
that, in so doing, i became that exceptional slick, austere paintings of what appeared to
sucker who all but proves Barber’s rule about be the same lunar-looking rock formation, with
the false security of the bourgeois only subtle tonal variations distinguishing
lifestyle. them as separate works. executed in a kind of
photorealistic grisaille, Martin’s paintings
(3) reveal nothing of their facture and emit a
lynn TalBoT Recent Paintings, PieroGi cold, focused mood. The nonpainterly application
of paint annoyingly drudges up enduring issues
lynn Talbot’s paintings allegedly explore the surrounding painting’s relationship to
optical and psychological differences entailed photography, and i couldn’t help but find the
in the perception of still-life painting and overall slickness (part of the fun of looking
abstraction. i’d be more than willing to follow at this work is trying to find a bit of fluff
the artist down this path, if her formal or a stray hair on the surface) something of a
solution – to have gigantic, geometric forms contrivance. Arbiter 1-3 (all 2007) imply in
hover above colouristically analogous displays their titles the sublime, authoritative power
of fruits, sweets and sundry ephemera – wasn’t of nature and prod the viewer to think about
so simple. Suffice it to add that the smattering our own imminent ecological judgment, which
of enticing works by other gallery artists makes me wonder if meaning rushes in to fill a
(stacked under Talbot’s paintings and waiting void where there is none.
Reviews Marathon.indd 63 7/1/08 16:46:50
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