Issue #179
What’s Mine Is Ours December 2, 2011

Ursula Mayer
Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight
Courtesy the artist, Montitor, and Jongma
SculptureCenter, Long Island City
Photo credit: Jason Mandella

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Jonathan Faber and Short Stories: Part Three

Idle: Jonathan Faber
November 17 - December 22, 2011
Artist talk December 10 at 2pm.

Abstraction within all manner of artistic practices has been making a resurgence over the past few years, though if you ask some, it never really went away. Amidst sleepy rehashes of the 1950s and lazy Gustonesque mimicry, there are smart, critical and downright gorgeous approaches in painting dealing with what, maybe incorrectly, we continue to term abstraction. Linguistic nit-picking aside, Jonathan Faber’s current offering at Champion presents a series of paintings whose line, color, symbols and shape move between frenetic activity and engrossing stillness. Conjuring expansive landscapes and intimate domestic settings, the paintings move, not only in the formal sense but perceptually within our brains where art ultimately finds some type of completion. This resolution is illusive and Faber’s paintings reflect this. Scribbled lines build and scratch their way over lush fields of color, obscuring what came before: physical residue of a search and a process, a journey that reflects both the process of their making and ours in trying to see them. This friction between thing and viewer is where art objects ultimately act and Faber’s paintings are striking examples of the ongoing and potent romance between them.

Short Stories, Part Three: Alejandro Cesarco, Ursula Mayer
Sculpture Center
November 12 - December 4, 2011

This weekend is your last to catch a glimpse of part three of writer and curator Isla Yeaver-Yap’s Short Stories at Sculpture Center in Long Island City. Built around questioning the role of critics and art historians, the current pairing features Ursula Mayer and Alejandro Cesarco, each presenting independent projects. Cesarco’s installation, The Streets Were Dark With Something More Than Night or The Closer I Get To The End The More I Rewrite The Beginning (2011), offers the viewer a partial narrative to piece together from an artist’s book, four photographs, a narrated slide show and a series of footnotes punctuating the space. Amateur sleuth’s will rejoice in deciphering the meaning(s) generated through the artists poetic repurposing of found text, literature, detective criticism, and his own writing. Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight (2010) a double projection 16mm film by Ursula Mayer centers around a group of dancers roughly following the Greek myth of Medea. Moving toward the unseen climax, the dancers alternate between action and repose, appearing to imitate the black and white shots of stone bas-relief in the accompanying shot. However, resolution is denied in this poignant take on a mythic narrative. Fiction and the artists’ internal logic are privileged over solid conclusions in both cases, reminding us of the speculative and unfolding nature of knowledge—illusive and seductive.

Eric Zimmerman is an artist and Editor of ...might be good.

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