Artists: Paul Lee, Jo Nigoghossian, Christina Ramberg
Venue: JTT, New York
Exhibition Title: Within and Throughout
Date: September 8 – October 20, 2013
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of JTT, New York
Included here are Paul Lee’s deconstructed bath towels and reconstructed tambourines, a drawing in space of sculpted steel, rubber and neon by Jo Nigoghossian, and a Christina Ramberg painting from 1975 featuring an abstracted torso bound in a fantastical garment.
The pattern on the figure in Ramberg’s painting is delicate, even by the artist’s standards, rendering a lace or undergarment. One that is not only worn, but designed to constrain, sculpt and ultimately transform. Ramberg, a central figure among the Chicago Imagists, often omitted the entirety of the body in her paintings, particularly the face.
Black bath towels are hand-dyed and stitched together to form a large rectangular frame dotted with white bulbs. Lee’s bath towel here is a stand-in for the body’s imprint, a marker of time between washing and drying, an object with a purely intimate purpose and an agent for change akin to the shedding of skin. The center of the work is left empty, a void within a void. Like Ramberg’s omission of the face, Lee’s work hinges on what is missing. In another work, Lee adheres three- dimensional geometric forms onto the surface of a tambourine. The sculpted shape, in leu of the hand, replaces sound.
Nigoghossian, who’s practice challenges the stubborn integrity of materials, humorously provokes the structure of steel, rubber and neon by excess instead of stress. A mixture of cold and hot rolled steel angle, flat, tubing, channel and rod is welded together in assertive yet playful gestures. Neon tangles itself together mimicking the steel making Nigoghossian’s hand clearly recognizable as it is translated from one material to the next. The result is a group of figures that are as gratuitous in architecture as they are in portraiture. The largest of group is positioned in what seems to be an à la quatrième devant, a curtsy and gallop at once. Lee and Ramberg create mirrors for the figure, while Nigoghossian’s figure mirrors itself into iterations.
Whether it be a void or an abundance, Lee, Nigoghossian and Ramberg share a common use of synecdoche. Ramberg isolates the torso in order to grapple with a larger sense of the female figure in society, the solitude of Lee’s bath towel hints at those with whom it shares its intimacy and Nigoghossian’s grouping of many renders the state of one.