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Selections Spring 2009 Apparently Invisible

THE D R AWI N G CENTER

84


Selections Spring 2009 Apparently Invisible

February 20 – March 28, 2009

MAIN GALLERY

Curated by Nina Katchadourian Joanna Kleinberg Rachel Liebowitz


D R A W I N G P A P E R S 84

Essay by Nina Katchadourian Joanna Kleinberg Rachel Liebowitz


Apparently Invisible

Imagine the following not uncommon scenario: You enter a space to look at art. This act is accompanied by a kind of readiness, an attentive stance that is different from your standard ways of seeing the world. You are ready to see things that can be seen and understand things about the work that can be known, such as the intention behind the work, its material, the way it was made, any meaning it might bear, and why it is on display. Even if some of those things may be challenging to determine, you can be sure that the artwork will announce itself clearly, so you can begin to decipher what is and what is not the art. So prepared, you come upon something that does not quite register. Paradoxically, almost because you are having trouble seeing, you cannot stop looking. The work is a source of uncertainty rather than enhanced knowledge, at least at this stage. And you wonder if anything productive could come from this uncertainty, an uncertainty made manifest on many levels: aesthetic, material, perceptual, conceptual. With Apparently Invisible, a show of nine artists whose works all skirt the edge of perception and cognition, we have actively sought to evoke just this kind of scenario. It is not because we believe in antagonizing the audience—quite the opposite. All of the work gathered in Apparently Invisible trusts in the patience and perseverance

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of its potential viewers. It takes that initial act of entry, that attentive stance, as an occasion to ask just how it is that we come to know what we do. It takes seriously that we have questions about how to make sense of our visual world, especially in instances when that world appears fugitive from our senses. It should come as no surprise then that many of the artworks in Apparently Invisible are physically hard to see: optical boundaries are blurred between the object and the gallery space, between figure and ground, and so the works require a very careful kind of inspection, a literal double-take. Elana Herzog and Chris Nau have each created site-specific works that are made in, on, and slightly off the wall. For Nau, the process begins by drawing with graphite directly onto a Sheetrock wall. The artist then methodically cuts at layers of the surface with a jigsaw, removing pieces, sanding them, and shimming them back into place to construct a composition of forms that are, as he puts it, “specific and believable, but not anchored to anything identifiable.” By a very different route, Herzog’s wall installations appear to be, as the artist notes, “simultaneously emerging from and disappearing into the wall.” Using an air-powered staple gun, Herzog anchors ordinary household fabrics directly to the wall. She then tears away much of the fabric, leaving behind threads and remnants of the pattern. Her stapling often mimics and enhances the structured weave of the remaining fabric, an effect that seems paradoxically restorative, as if attempting to prevent further fraying. The gallery wall is usually stable, neutral and invisible—a mere support structure for the artworks hung upon it. But as Herzog’s and Nau’s walls absorb and record the transformative processes enacted upon them, they expose materially what walls are really made of: drywall, paper, dust and paint. A visit to any hardware store underscores this fact. But activated in this way in the gallery space, the gallery wall becomes unpredictable, an object of interrogation. In a similar vein, Janine Magelssen uses both the wall and the floor for installations of multiple, small white objects made from wood, putty and plaster. She builds up spare, rectilinear marks into reliefs and small sculptural forms that relate to one another and yet ques-

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tion their own legibility. As Magelssen explains, “I examine how much I can reduce form, color and gesture before the work’s physical and sensuous effects are lost.” While Magelssen’s work is concerned with formal legibility, Marietta Hoferer’s panels, constructed from faint pencil and lines of transparent and white tape, concern themselves with the limits of perceptual legibility. At first glance, her meticulous, grid-like formations and white-on-white surfaces are all but imperceptible. Yet as one’s eyes adjust, the geometric patterns become more apparent, revealing a luminous surface that changes with the light and one’s shifting vantage point. And while they initially seem strict and controlled, Hoferer’s pristine and exacting fields reveal themselves to be very handmade and born of humble materials. While Hoferer and Magelssen’s works seem to come into focus only at close range, the rhythmic matrix of lines in Anne Lindberg’s pieces and the labored, linear accumulations of graphite pencil in Michaela Frühwirth’s work assert their presence from a distance. Lindberg’s repetitive marks are the result of painstakingly hand-drawn lines that vary according to the pressure exerted by her hand. The repeated lines differ in tone and density, and the image recalls a seismograph readout or a sonic waveform (one gets the sense of a shape passing through the drawing, some sort of undulating field or disturbance). Frühwirth’s drawings on the other hand engage the darker end of the perceptual scale. Her irregular black forms emerge out of a rippled, worked-over surface of graphite marks so emphatic and repetitive that the paper itself buckles under the strain. There is more drawing in this drawing than initially appears possible or even sustainable by the materials in use. Cognitively, Apparently Invisible asks us to confront what criteria we use to judge whether a mark is made or found. Janet Passehl’s muted cloth sculptures are created by staining cloth with tea, drying it, folding it into precise geometric configurations, and then ironing out the creases. The grain of the cloth, its texture, weave and edges, becomes the ostensible subject matter of the work, while the tiny, almost imperceptible imperfections in the fabric (shrinks, stitches,

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stretches, stains) register as so familiar as to raise questions about the intentionality of the marks. As Passehl says, “Accident or incident, and extreme deliberateness, are the poles of my work.” Likewise, the stains so central to Susan Collis’s body of work do not immediately reveal themselves for what they are: the smudges of colored paint on a pair of worker’s overalls are actually embroidered; paint drips on a wooden broom and ladder are inlaid with fresh water pearls, opals and diamonds; two cheap nylon bags are in fact even cheaper than they appear: they are made of paper and inked with ballpoint pen. And how is one to make sense of a piece that isn’t in the gallery proper? Located in a space peripheral to the gallery—The Drawing Center’s bathroom—Sarah Kabot’s three-dimensional installation retraces in vinyl tape every linear feature of the bathroom’s tiles, floors and walls, but sets it off axis by a half inch, as if everything just slid off its anchoring grid. In a space as mundane and private as a bathroom, the viewer has likely dropped the attentive stance exercised in the gallery space. Yet the literal and figurative blurring induced by Kabot’s piece might induce some eye-rubbing, an attempt to double check. Apparently Invisible invites the viewer to practice knowing less, even at the cost of not seeing or understanding every last thing. As viewers in an art gallery, and also as citizens of the world at large, we often encounter such didactic and reductive guidelines for looking that our ways of navigating the world run the risk of becoming desensitized and automatic. Most of the time, our senses are overloaded and situations are over-determined. This exhibition embodies an optimism that the viewer can be trusted to stay curious when faced with an unknown and can remain, for a moment longer than usual, in a state of uncertainty. The works in Apparently Invisible often require a recalibration of the visual and a reconsideration of what we initially assumed to be in front of us. They ask for patience and for a momentary investment in a more quiet sublime. And there are rewards for lingering there. In the brief moment before we are sure we know— before what’s barely apparent becomes thoroughly visible or legible— it feels like there is infinite possibility.

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Susan Collis

b. 1956, Edinburgh, Scotland Lives and works in London, UK

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WORKS IN E XHIBITION

100% Cotton, 2004 Overalls, embroidery threads 63 x 12 x 4 inches Courtesy of Seventeen, London [PGS. 12, 13 detail] Save the last dance for me, 2006 Wooden broom, diamond, fresh water pearl, cultured pearl, mother of pearl, white opal, turquoise, howlite 50 x 14 1/2 x 4 3/8 inches Courtesy of Seventeen, London Refugee, 2007 Black and red biro inks and pencil on paper, glue 20 x 11 x 24 inches Collection Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York Image courtesy of Seventeen, London [PGS. 14, 15 detail] Untitled, 2007 Wooden stepladder 23 x 14 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches Courtesy of Seventeen, London

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Michaela Fr端hwirth

b. 1972, Vienna, Austria Lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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WORKS IN E XHIBITION

Untitled, 2007 Pencil on paper 62 x 156 inches Collection of Alejandro Madero [PGS. 18–19, 20–21 detail]

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Elana Herzog

b. 1954, Toronto, Canada Lives and works in New York, NY

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WORKS IN E XHIBITION

PICTURED

Untitled, 2009

Untitled, 2003, from Civilization and Its

Silk and metal staples in drywall panels

Discontents, 2003/2005

on plywood

Chenille bedspread fabric, metal staples in

Dimensions variable

drywall panel Photo by Hermann Feldhaus [PGS. 24, 25 detail] Made in Boone, 2008 Pencil, drywall, paint, petroleum jelly, plaster, Tyvek brand moisture barrier, mixed fabric, metal staples, drywall screws [PGS. 27, 28–29 detail]

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Marietta Hoferer

b. 1962, Hausach, Germany Lives and works in New York, NY

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WORKS IN E XHIBITION

Malibu, 2006 Pencil and transparent tape on paper 14 panels, 38 x 38 inches each, 76 x 266 inches overall [PGS. 33, 34–35 detail] Untitled (air), 2008 White tape on paper 15 x 15 inches [PGS. 36, 37 detail]

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Sarah Kabot

b. 1976, Royal Oak, Michigan Lives and works in Cleveland, OH

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WORKS IN E XHIBITION

PICTURED

All lines in men’s and women’s bathrooms

All lines in men’s and women’s bathrooms

shifted 1/2 inch to the right and 1/2 inch

shifted 1/2 inch to the right and 1/2 inch

toward the ceiling, 2009

toward the ceiling, 2002

Vinyl tape

Vinyl tape

Dimensions variable

30 x 15 x 8 feet [PGS. 41, 42–43]

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Anne Lindberg

b. 1962, Iowa City, Iowa Lives and works in Kansas City, MO and New York, NY

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WORKS IN E XHIBITION

parallel 10 (plumbago), 2007 Graphite on cotton board 42 x 70 inches [PGS. 46–47] parallel 11 (plumbago), 2007 Graphite on cotton board 42 x 70 inches [PGS. 48–49]

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Janine Magelssen

b. 1964, Oslo, Norway Lives and works in Oslo, Norway

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WORKS IN E XHIBITION

PICTURED

Wall Construction I, 2008–2009

Wall Construction II, 2008

Chalk and glue on wood and putty on wall

Chalk and glue on wood and putty on wall

Dimensions variable

Dimensions variable [PGS. 52–53, Cover detail] Object IV, 2008 Chalk and glue on wood and putty on wall 3 7/8 x 3 7/8 x 1/2 inch [PG. 54] Area IV, 2008 Putty on wall 3 7/8 x 3 7/8 inches [PG. 55] Object I, 2008 Chalk and glue on wood 5 1/2 x 2 7/8 x 1/2 inches [PG. 57]

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Chris Nau

b. 1973, Eligin, IL Lives and works in Ithaca, NY

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WORKS IN E XHIBITION

PICTURED

XIX, 2009

Inhabitat XVI, 2008

Graphite and cuts on drywall

Graphite and cuts on drywall

142 x 355 inches

96 x 192 inches [PGS. 60–61, 62–63 detail] Inhabitat XVII, 2008 Graphite and cuts on drywall 108 x 108 inches [PGS. 64–65, 66–67 detail]

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Janet Passehl

b. 1959, Braintree, MA Lives and works in Essex, CT

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WORKS IN E XHIBITION

Untitled, 2001

Untitled, 2003–05

Cloth, dirt, ironing

Cloth, tea, ironing

1/16 x 6 1/2 x 13 inches

1/4 x 10 1/4 x 16 inches

LeWitt Collection, Chester, CT Untitled, 2004 Untitled, 2001

Cloth, ironing

Cloth, tea, ironing

1/8 x 12 x 19 1/2 inches

1/16 x 18 1/4 x 22 1/4 inches [PG. 73]

Untitled, 2006 Cloth, dirt, ironing

Untitled, 2003

1/4 x 7 3/8 x 25 3/4 inches

Cloth, sewn thread, ironing

[PG. 72]

1/8 x 13 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches [PG. 71]

Untitled, 2006 Cloth, tea, ironing

Untitled, 2003

1/8 x 5 1/2 x 11 inches

Cloth, tea, ironing

LeWitt Collection, Chester, CT

1/4 x 11 1/2 x 25 inches Untitled, 2003 Cloth, tea, ironing 1/32 x 10 1/4 x 21 inches Untitled, 2003 Cloth, tea, ironing 1/32 x 15 x 23 1/2 inches [PGS. 74, 75 detail]

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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Frances Beatty Adler Co-Chairman

The Drawing Center’s 2008–2009 exhibitions and

Eric C. Rudin Co-Chairman

public programs are made possible, in part, with

Dita Amory

the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation,

Melva Bucksbaum

Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and with pub-

Suzanne Cochran

lic funds from the New York State Council on the

Anita F. Contini

Arts, a State agency.

Frances Dittmer Bruce W. Ferguson Barry M. Fox Stacey Goergen Michael Lynne* Iris Z. Marden

Selections exhibitions are curated through the

George Negroponte

Viewing Program, which is supported, in part,

Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn

by public funds from the New York City

Elizabeth Rohatyn*

Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional

Jane Dresner Sadaka

funds for Apparently Invisible: Selections Spring

Allen Lee Sessoms

2009 have been provided by the Consulate

Jeanne C. Thayer*

General of the Netherlands in New York.

Barbara Toll Candace Worth Brett Littman Executive Director *Emeriti


E D WA R D H A L L A M T U C K P U B L I C AT I O N P R O G R A M

This is number 84 of the Drawing Papers, a series of publications documenting The Drawing Center’s exhibitions and public programs and providing a forum for the study of drawing. Jonathan T. D. Neil Executive Editor Joanna Berman Ahlberg Managing Editor Designed by Peter J. Ahlberg / AHL & COMPANY This book is set in Adobe Garamond Pro and Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk. It was printed by BookMobile in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

LIBR ARY OF CONGRESS CONTROL NUMBER : 2009920499 I S B N 9 7 8 - 0 - 9 4 2 3 24 - 4 4 - 0 © 2 0 0 9 T H E D R AW I N G C E N T E R IMAGES © ARTISTS


T H E D R AW I N G PA P E R S S E R I E S A L S O I N C L U D E S

Drawing Papers 83 M/M: Just Like an Ant Walking on the Edge of the Visible Drawing Papers 82 Matt Mullican: A Drawing Translates the Way of Thinking Drawing Papers 81 Greta Magnusson Grossman: Furniture and Lighting Drawing Papers 80 Kathleen Henderson: What if I Could Draw a Bird that Could Change the World? Drawing Papers 79 Rirkrit Tiravanija: Demonstration Drawings Drawing Papers 77 Frederick Kiesler: Co-Realities Drawing Papers 73 Alan Saret: Gang Drawings Drawing Papers 61 Eva Hesse: Circles & Grids Drawing Papers 57 Persistent Vestiges: Drawing from the American-Vietnam War Drawing Papers 52 Nasreen Mohamedi: Lines among Lines Drawing Papers 51 3 x Abstraction: Homage to Agnes Martin Drawing Papers 49 Richard Tuttle: Manifesto Drawing Papers 40 Mark Lombardi: Global Networks Drawing Papers 29 Ellsworth Kelly: A Conversation Drawing Papers 14 Henri Michaux: Emergences/Resurgences

T O O R D E R , A N D F O R A C O M P L E T E C ATA L O G O F PA S T E D I T I O N S , V I S I T D R AW I N G C E N T E R . O R G


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Profile for The Drawing Center

Apparently Invisible: Selections Spring 2009  

The Drawing Center's Drawing Papers Volume 84 featuring an essay by co-curators Nina Katchadourian, Joanna Kleinberg, and Rachel Liebowitz.

Apparently Invisible: Selections Spring 2009  

The Drawing Center's Drawing Papers Volume 84 featuring an essay by co-curators Nina Katchadourian, Joanna Kleinberg, and Rachel Liebowitz.

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