Intrigued by a recent Blake Gopnik post (the one led off by his irresistible tweet: “Pieter Schoolwerth slices and dices Caravaggio”), we took a closer look at the group show in which Schoolwerth’s fascinating painting, Portrait of ‘The Supper At Emmaus’ (after Caravaggio) is featured. Titled accrochage, a French word with multiple meanings encompassing small collisions, encounters, or hangings of the exhibition sort, the show is positioned simply as “an installation of recent works by gallery artists and others.”
Although no explicit thematic connection is made between the works of the eleven artists in the show, the exhibition is remarkably satisfying and coherent on both visual and conceptual levels. The disparate artworks, running the materials gamut between oils and acrylics, ink and chalk, synthetic felt, steel, 6-cartridge ink dispersion on powder coated vinyl, chromogenic prints, and unadorned postage stamps stuck directly to a wall, contrast markedly with regard to process and scale, but are unified by a decisive aesthetic sensibility which is restrained yet committed in its approach to colour and composition; spare yet sumptuous in its materiality and visual effects.
Conceptually, the exhibition, which is split between two floors, is subdivided accordingly with the more psychologically charged works grouped together on the lower level. Whereas the gestures and expressions contained in the work on the upper level (above) seem to privilege the physical relationships and interactions between: a) the artist and his or her process of making, b) the colours and/or materials used in each piece, c) the finished artwork and the audience, and d) the objects themselves, the work on the lower level generally sublimates materiality in favour of more pictorial representations of subject matter which yet remain largely in the realm of the abstract and/or minimal (below).
Certainly there are exceptions to this broad generalization, and in fact it is these that serve to link the two parts of the exhibition into a cohesive whole. For example, Thomas Eggerer’s contemporary cheerleaders upstairs and Hans Bellmer’s historic sexualized doll downstairs both venture further into representation and figuration than the surrounding artworks on each respective level.
Similarly a pair of exceedingly subtle pieces by Scott Lyall, one on each floor, act as visual linchpins. Echoing the aforementioned pane of postage stamps, Lyall’s EVe 20100216 / 20152208 is directly applied to the far wall in the upstairs gallery. Flickering between window, screen, and static, it hovers on the edge of immateriality, a thin layer of vaguely chromatic visual noise. Downstairs, Lyall’s Nude is also a minimal colour field, but in this case the white expanse resolving into barely discernible tints of green along the upper edges and the pale flush of pink radiating along the bottom edges evokes a more tangible reality. Positioned next to Bellmer’s explicit La Poupée with its supple pink-tinted folds, Lyall’s work visually tethers the older work to the rest of show, much as Eggerer’s faceless cheerleaders occupy similar conceptual and psychological territory to that of Bellmer’s headless figure.
Small collisions and encounters, indeed. Much more could be said, but why not see for yourself—accrochage closed the 19th, but the show is well documented on the gallery’s website, with images that comprehensively represent the relationship of works to each other within the exhibition. That having been said, all the works (particularly Schoolwerth’s, which, as Gopnik says, is a revelation—but that’s a story for another day) truly shine when seen in the flesh, of course.
Accrochage includes work by Thomas Eggerer, Nicolás Guagnini, Pieter Schoolwerth, Scott Lyall, Blake Rayne, Jimmy Raskin, Raha Raissnia, Eileen Quinlan, Liz Deschenes, Hans Bellmer, and Sam Lewitt. All artwork was made in the last five years, except for Bellmer’s, which is from 1936/49.
Blake Gopnik’s Daily Pic featuring Portrait of ‘The Supper At Emmaus’ (after Caravaggio) by
images 2, 3, 7, 8 (from top to bottom):
accrochage, installation views, Miguel Abreu Gallery, 2012
individual works (from top to bottom):
Pieter Schoolwerth, Portrait of “The Supper At Emmaus” (after Caravaggio), 2012, acrylic, oil, giclée print ink and chalk on canvas, 47 3/4 x 64 1/2 inches (121.3 x 163.8 cm), framed: 49 1/2 x 65 3/4 inches
(125.1 x 167 cm)
Thomas Eggerer, Turn Around, 2008, collage, 11 3/4 x 9 inches (29.8 x 22.9 cm)
Thomas Eggerer, One Way Exit, 2008, oil on linen, 39 1/2 x 34 1/2 inches (100.3 x 87.6 cm)
Nicolás Guagnini, Brilliant If Cerebral, 2011, postage stamps, 4 13/16 x 3 inches (12.2 x 7.6 cm)
Scott Lyall, Nude, 2012, 6-color, grayscale, and white ink dispersion, UV radiation on cotton, acrylic latex, MDF panel, 62 1/4 x 46 3/4 inches (158.1 x 118.8 cm)
Hans Bellmer, La Poupée, 1936/49, vintage hand colored gelatin silver print, 5 1/4 x 5 1/4 inches
(13.3 x 13.3 cm), framed: 14 x14 inches (35.6 x 35.6 cm)
Eileen Quinlan, The Source, 2010, chromogenic print mounted on plexiglass, 40 x 30 inches
(101.6 x 76.2 cm), framed: 42 x 32 inches (106.7 x 81.3 cm), edition of 3 + 2AP
Eileen Quinlan, From the Top of the Great Pyramid, 2011, chromogenic print mounted on aluminum,
24 x 20 inches (61 x 50.8 cm), framed: 26 x 22 inches (66 x 55.9 cm), edition of 3 + 2AP
Scott Lyall, EVe 20100216 / 20152208, 2010, 6-cartridge ink dispersion on powder coated vinyl, adhesive backing, 68 x 44 inches (172.5 x 112 cm)