Pierre Huyghe is a producer of spectacular and memorable enigmas, with works that function more like mirages than as objects. Abyssal Plain (2015–ongoing), his contribution to the 2015 Istanbul Biennial, curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, was installed on the seabed of the Marmara Sea, some 20 metres below the surface of the water and close to...
In the early decades of its existence, New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), founded in 1929, transformed from a philanthropic project modestly housed in a few rooms of the Heckscher Building on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, to an alleged operating node in the United States' cultural struggle during the cold war, and one of the...
Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...
Jess Fuller tells me that this is mainly a show of her 'medium-sized' paintings, then laughs as she notes that others would probably still consider them large. But what might be forwards for Fuller is usually backwards for others in her unique, invented process of painting. It's a physical, performative painting in several acts-tearing, washing, layering, spraying and sewing. Canvas, for Fuller, is not something that paintings are made on, arriving pre-stretched and primed, but something her paintings are made with. It is as inherent a material as the acrylic and gesso; her compositions are made in consultation with the fabric's grain, which forms a patchwork cast of irregular-shaped characters. At times they lean on one another, square up to one another; often, they appear as if posing-poised in position like carefully arranged elements of a still life.
Recognisable or biomorphic forms emerge in Fuller's works, but they are not always intended as representational. As viewers or bystanders, we perhaps can't help but map shapes from our lives onto these abstract, wiggly cutouts. Yet, for the artist, they are representative of more than one specific moment or meaning, reflecting an ongoing personal narrative that might lie dormant until it reveals itself in the painting process. Her works' titles often come from snippets of overheard conversations or pieces of text that might flit by as she moves through the city-Application for After-Life Insurance, Lean on me, Love thy neighbor-Discreetly-and are thus an appliquéd vocabulary as hodge-podge as the visual language within the works. Forms, like words, repeat through different paintings, developing a lexicon between marks and colours. As with the act of writing, Fuller is at once wielding control and relinquishing it, allowing room for surprising herself by what might emerge in the space. Working with the canvas directly on the floor permits a gestural act of assembling-two cutout pieces strewn about suddenly might appear in dialogue with one another, intuitively, as if by accident. Other decisions will be more deliberate, Fuller weaving threads of meaning between these sewn shapes gone askew.
Fuller's forms bear witness to this push-pull process that sits between intention and unintention, between painting and sculpture, between abstract and evocation. Fuller's layers push up against each other in overlapping, exaggerated drama, where awkward silhouettes wriggle and jitter in place. These piles of stitched gestures challenge boundaries and definitions, conjuring seemingly infinite combinations unique to both each work and each viewer. For Fuller, however, it's a continual experiment into the act of painting-the personal and political woven into materials, elicited in colours, stitched in the outlines of even the most abstract forms.
Jess Fuller (b. 1972, Portland, Maine, US) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
Selected exhibitions include: CANADA, New York (2017); Fort Greene, curated by Adrianne Rubenstein, Venus, Los Angeles (2016); Re-Planetizer, curated by The Pit, Regina Rex, New York (2016); Inside Out, Berthold Pott Gallery, Cologne (2016); 8 Femmes, Office Baroque, Brussels (2016); Fairy Smoke, Herald St, London (2015); I Can't Wait to Get Off Work, Bannerette, New York (2015); BFA Boatas, São Paulo (2015); Call and Response, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, New York (2015); amongst others.
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