New York artists Marguerite Day and Adie Russell present works that invite viewers to decipher divergent conversations within emergent worlds.
When deciding to curate the show, I felt that pairing these artists together would result in a dynamic exhibit of contradictions and unique approaches – each dealing with strong content via gentle, yet disruptive, means. The thoroughness of their investigation is like exploring at a particle level (Charm & Strange are two quark “flavors”), but in their art, as in particle physics, it is not definitive answers at which they arrive, but a multitude of simultaneously occurring possibilities.
Marguerite Day’s work begins like carefully chosen words that accumulate into sentences, phrases, paragraphs, and eventually a novella. Her resulting “All-in-One” installations are made up of 200+ drawings and collages; most of the works were created with indirect methods such as object-sprays, image transfers, and drawings with thread. These methods create traces and shadows – subjects seem to be in the process of appearing or disappearing – but they don’t seem unknowable; more like a “tip of the tongue” memory recall. The individual drawings often defy hierarchies of art world materials. Wax paper is more likely to be used than canvas or costly art store materials. Marguerite’s imagery often reflects the same approach – choosing subjects that are normally under the microscope of class definitions of judgment and taste. The story seems to be written in accessible vernacular, possibly influenced by her Southern background. As I read the individual works (little worlds in their own right) and the piece as a whole, I get the sense of being inside a brain as it takes in streams of visual information while trying to analyze and categorize the emotional from logical.
Adie Russell also works through layers of content and possibility within her practice. Perception, emotion, abstraction and language all come together for compelling visual offerings. I see, at once, images within a shared, cultural psyche and her need to disrupt the viewer’s perception of that image. In Adie’s own words “I use the juxtapositions of image and abstraction to investigate ideas concerning identity, the unconscious and the mystical. I’m trying to create a tension between opposing forces, pop culture images and geometric abstraction, past and present, color and monochrome, in an effort to create a kind of aesthetic of the in-between where human emotion and human connection to the mystical can be expressed.” It is this notion of the mystical (through artistic practice and then shared creation) that draws me to her work. Since we are always provided with so much imagery via media exposure, how can an artist use these forms and, in essence, elevate them beyond what was intended. Her use of abstraction as overlay, as interaction with found image, does this effectively.
Fred Fleisher, June 2014
Fred Fleisher is an artist, educator, and curator living in Brooklyn.