Carol Bove: The Pastic Unit – David Zwirner
David Zwirner presents Carol Bove, a New York-based artist known for assemblages disparate materials and found and made objects, in the gallery’s first exhibition ‘The Plastic Unit’. The show is a collection of large-scale sculptures made from a combination of natural and industrial materials, including slickly manufactured stainless steel “glyphs,” intricate metal curtains, I-beam structures, steel and concrete pedestals, shells, and peacock feathers. The artist forms a dialogue between the nature of her varying materials – juxtaposing and off-setting organic forms against the solidity of man-made materials and shapes.
The exhibition encompasses 3 floors of the gallery forming a similar dialogue with the space of the white cube, Bove’s sculpture references a wide range of histories regarding language, including a particularly colourful ‘Caro-esque’ play on colour, and even the occasional Braque-esque leaning, blurring the idea of the plinth – something Caro did everything to remove – now ‘becomes’. The show includes a steel I-beam column supporting a human-sized piece of petrified wood, where the artist creates a temporality between materials.
A further and final blurring occurs on the top floor of the gallery where the functionality of the peacock feather is re-contextualised to become the surface of a series of for Hirstian canvases that are joined to create a single form – a sculptural act with the canvas. The artist composites the varying histories and languages of sculpture, pushing the work towards elements in installational form, while blurring the definition of assemblage.
Carol Bove: The Pastic Unit – David Zwirner – until 30 May 2015
João Penalva: Simon Lee Gallery
Simon Lee Gallery presents a solo exhibition of new work by the London–based Portuguese artist, João Penalva, the artist’s third with the gallery. This exhibition focuses on Penalva’s use of photography which is often shown accompanied with a narrative text as if components of a story, or the given reason for the works existence. But the narratives jar with a fictional tone, bringing into question a set reading of the work.
The heart of the exhibition is a new series of works consisting of large scale photographs of London pavements, taken at points along the artist’s daily routes between home and studio. Penalva would then print the blurred intentionally abstract images onto linen and mount them on aluminium.
The artist’s images have a ‘ghostly’ quality suggesting the existence of the figure through the detail of man-made surfaces, with the camera looking down, and only the missing Penalva’s blurred walking feet. The inclusion of which would instantly snap the viewer straight out of an abstract reading. But the work stands as a temporal framing of the artist’s journey, a frozen moment in time re-contextualised as ‘art’ – at first reading – without any narrative text, the work expresses language to be found in Abstract Expressionism, or even Andy Warhol’s oxidation paintings – where in fact they could be read as documents.
This ambiguity enables multiple perspectives and readings by the viewer, resulting in an oeuvre of photographic ‘Abstract and painterly documents’. The artist explores language and the human perception of the image – and presence within it – creating seemingly ghostly temporal after-images of the ground that many have walked before him, embedded with a history that helped form the very compositions themselves.
João Penalva: Simon Lee Gallery – until 25 April 2015
Christian Rosa: Put your Eye in your Mouth – White Cube
White Cube present the first UK exhibition of new paintings by the artist Christian Rosa at Mason’s Yard. Rosa’s create large-scale minimalist abstract paintings with a twist. Using raw untreated canvas the artist paints in the manner and function of an automatic writer, Rosa forms a journey through visual narratives of form and line, each canvas must be exacting or the equation would fall apart.
Modes of communication between elements are suggestive of the sculptural intricacies similar to the Japanese artist Nobuko Tsuchiya, forms on a raw canvas communicating like microchips on a motherboard, expressing changing energies employed in their creation. The artist is almost working out a visual ‘problem’. Rosa’s painting pratice is open-ended, guided by intuition – if placed within a framework of language with juxtaposes it with the precision of a machine.
In this new oeuvre of work, the artist employs minimal mark-making in oil, charcoal, pencil, resin and oil stick and a reduction of visible brushwork. The resulting canvases balance between exacting precision, balance – and the improvisational, harnessing a palpable tension in the works. Like any abstract the paintings rely on the subjective emotional response of the viewer – but also with this artist there is the sensation of the viewer studying a mathematician’s blackboard – there is a balance in the work suggesting a Renaissance purity – as if the viewer is witnessing the attempt to ‘paint’ an equation.
Christian Rosa: Put your Eye in your Mouth – White Cube, Mason’s Yard – until 23 May 2015
Words: Paul Black. Photo and Vine: P A Black © Artlyst 2015 all rights reserved