Thursday, October 4, 2012

Valerie Snobeck at Essex Street, Teresita Fernandez at Lehman Maupin, Gina Magid and Josh Podoll at Feature, Walled Garden at Klaus von Nichtssagend, Phil Wagner at Untitled

A recurring motif in art at the moment is the emptying out and refilling of historical styles, particularly Minimalism. For the Minimalist, formal austerity, discreet object-ness and seriality typically create a defense against overt emotional content. A common approach is to quote the form and structure of Minimalism while injecting that form with sociological, political or psychological content. It is an interesting strategy, and one that I have been thinking about in the context of my own work for some time. I do have a reservation, which is that if the artist isn't careful, it may not amount to more than a re-arranging of the furniture, but at this point, with so many artists engaging in the practice, it is too early to know. I'm curious to see how it plays out.

I came across an intruiging example last weekend, with an introduction to the work of Valerie Snobeck. I particularly liked the informal treatment of the photographs, which suggested posters peeled and taken from the street. The press release states the images were found on the internet, so the artist took considerable care in applying a sense of age and weathering to them. In fact most of the elements in Snobeck's installation appear to be found objects which have been transformed in some way. The overall effect is of understated elegance, with an emotional pitch at once hot and cool.

Valerie Snobeck at Essex Street, 114 Eldridge St., through October 21.

Some other shows up in the Lower East Side I saw and felt were noteworthy:

Teresita Fernandez, Night Writing, at Lehman Maupin, 201 Chrystie St., through October 20.

Gina Magid and Josh Podoll at Feature, 131 Allen St., through October 7.

Walled Garden at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 54 Ludlow St., through October 21.

Phil Wagner, With Love, at Untitled, 30 Orchard St., through October 14.

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