Andy Coolquitt and Liliana Porter
Andy Coolquitt: chair w/ paintings
Lisa Cooley, New York
March 30 - May 6, 2012
Freshly relocated to new digs, Lisa Cooley has started things off on the right foot with a solo-exhibition from Austin-based artist Andy Coolquitt. The scavenged materials (plastic lighters, metal pipes, beer cans) typically present within Coolquitt’s work continue to hold center stage and make up the bones of the thirty-five works that make up the exhibition. Discarded objects unified under the guise of an artwork (and exhibition) can be understood as a metaphor for Coolquitt’s larger concerns which center on ‘togetherness’ and the space between environment and object. Densely installed, the work encourages us to linger, to literally lean (A nice soft place, 2010), and to engage in conversation with one another within the context of the exhibition. We gravitate towards one another and in a sense begin to function as a whole, as an element within the exhibition, and as an extension of the combinations Coolquitt’s work so deftly suggests. Minimal forms belie the haphazard and human qualities in much of the work—humble materials, the undeniable presence of the hand and a concern for human relationships. The skillful addressing of social space within the gallery, references to socio-economic issues and the blunting of distinctions between artwork, designed product and persona, are just a few of the reasons to make a trip to 107 Norfolk Street as soon as you can.
Eric Zimmerman is an artist and Editor of ...might be good.
Liliana Porter: Fragment of the Cast
Sicardi Gallery, Houston
March 15 - April 28, 2012
Argentinean artist Liliana Porter works with figurines, and she has been doing it for a very, very long time. Plastic soldiers, wind-up toys and kitschy ceramic gewgaws; trinkets, curios, knickknacks and doodads—whatever you want to call them, Porter has filmed, photographed and assembled them in the most deft and whimsical ways. She brings a selection of these works to the Sicardi Gallery for her fifth solo show there, Fragment of the Cast. The immediate appeal is quite obvious: there has always been an innate attraction for the model-sized, whether it be Barbies, Lego Mini-figures or doll houses with their teeny tiny furniture. Perhaps it is the feeling of control over the inanimate or the projected relationships developed through anthropomorphism, and those complex feelings of empathy are what make Porter’s work so enduring. There is a courageousness to her characters as they set out to do the impossible. A figure no larger than an inch tall attempts to untangle a bundle of rope a hundred times his size in Forced Labor (Rope) (2011). In a similar piece entitled Man with Axe (2011), another small figure holds an axe high above his head, chopping at a dauntingly large pile of broken ceramics. These figures are humorously brought to life while simultaneously playing the tragic hero, one that is trapped in a still frame of an eternal task that they themselves are not aware of. Particularly delightful is OH! (2011), a lithograph of a small female figurine holding her head in despair as a pair of headphones accompanying the print plays the soundtrack of a roaring audience when Germany defeated Argentina in the 2010 World Cup. Porter’s ability to cultivate genuine emotions from these visual one-liners and subtle gestures is absolute alchemy—and I hope she never stops doing it.
Emily Ng is an artist and Production Associate at Fluent~Collaborative.