Eliel Jones

  • Alexa Karolinski and Ingo Niermann, Army of Love, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 42 minutes. Installation view, Auto Italia, London. Photograph: Lucy Parakhina.
    film November 28, 2019

    Baby Don’t Hurt Me

    ALEXA KAROLINSKI AND INGO NIERMANN make war movies about love. Their two moving-image works to date, both currently on view at Auto Italia in London, are premised on the existence of an Army of Love, an entity as real as it is speculative, comprising a motley cluster of volunteers—soldiers spanning sexualities, generations, abilities, and ethnicities—whose purpose is “to offer all-encompassing love . . . to those who need it.” It is an imperative at once simple and extraordinarily difficult. Love here is understood as a practice involving “care, desire, sex, and respect,” indiscriminate of its

  • John Knight, Quiet Quality, 1974, electric blanket and text, dimensions variable.
    picks June 12, 2019

    John Knight

    “The sum of an artist is what he’s thinking . . . all day long,” once opined veteran Conceptualist John Knight, an artist whose art has not always graduated from the realm of thought: In 1975, Knight failed to convince the infamous LA gallerist Riko Mizuno to rent a searchlight and install it alone in her space. At the time, searchlights would have been a regular sight in the skyline. Cast from the hills of Hollywood to the lesser-known openings of malls and car dealerships, these beams epitomized LA’s identity as the city of celebrity and commerce. Knight’s hypothetical searchlight was never

  • Anna Chrystal Stephens, Stern Hood, 2019, acrylic canvas, steel, photographic prints on cotton and linen, paracord stool, outdoor and domestic accessories.
    picks February 11, 2019

    Anna Chrystal Stephens

    If you’re planning an exit strategy—and who isn’t, these days?—Anna Chrystal Stephens’s new exhibition, “Anorak,” is a good place to start gearing up. Think of how useful, and marveling, it would be to wear Utility Cloak (all works cited 2019), made up of several repurposed, lightweight tents perched on a wall, their plastic extremities spread out to outline the place for a body. Stephens stuffed the cloak’s insides with a myriad of escapist musts: water filters, a map, a first-aid kit, plastic plates and cups (indispensable for the posher among us), an emergency blanket, tools, and a vintage

  • James N. Kienitz Wilkins, The Dynamic Range, 2018, VR, 18 minutes.
    picks September 30, 2018

    James N. Kienitz Wilkins

    Brooklyn-based artist James N. Kienitz Wilkins’s first exhibition in a gallery context considers truth through the medium of film. Take The Dynamic Range, 2018, a video shot with the lens cap on, which was originally commissioned for planetarium format and is here presented through a virtual-reality headset. At the beginning of the video, darkness. But then particles of light become visible through colored pixels, which swirl into an upward tunnel as a Morgan Freeman impersonator narrates the digital advances of camera technology. Wilkins prompts us to think about what we see when we see nothing,

  • Julien Nguyen, St George & The Dragon, 2017, oil and tempera on wood panel, 36 x 22".
    picks June 14, 2018

    Julien Nguyen

    Lithe, androgynous bodies inhabit the canvases in Julien Nguyen’s first solo exhibition here. Hung in the gallery’s chapel-like upstairs space, the artist’s works are homages to Western religious painting, with tableaux such as the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary and references to biblical suffering: mortification of the flesh and, of course, crucifixion. Nguyen queers his images by making strangers, friends, and old lovers the characters in his pictures. The artist asks us to consider the significance of these ancient Christian stories in contemporary life.

    St George & The Dragon (all works

  • picks May 01, 2018

    Eric N. Mack

    That textile work has largely been thought of as a type of female pastime or labor—mostly unwaged and certainly unrecognized as an art form until only recently—does not go unnoticed in Eric N. Mack’s collaged assemblages. In fact, one could understand an element of Mack’s practice to be an homage to both the medium’s ideology and its formal possibilities. The artist’s new body of work dangles here, between tribute and material inquiry. This exhibition, titled “Misa Hylton-Brim,” takes its cue from the eponymous ’90s hip-hop stylist, who iconically dressed the likes of Missy Elliott and Puff

  • Flo Brooks, Full of sediment, full of doubt, 2017, acrylic on wood, 57 x 54".
    picks December 14, 2017

    Flo Brooks

    Flo Brooks’s sextet of acrylic paintings here is rendered with precise strokes in bright colors. The artist depicts himself and his parents in the middle of sundry familial activities. You feel like a voyeur running your eyes over these intimate, quotidian tableaux. The maintenance of objects and people is a running theme: Brooks dyes his mother’s gray hairs, helps her deal with a dodgy washing machine, and lies on the floor while working with his father to repair a bathtub. Nobody wants or wants to be a broken thing.

    Having recently moved back to his provincial hometown in South West England (

  • View of “Terre Thaemlitz,” 2017.
    picks October 31, 2017

    Terre Thaemlitz

    Stepping into the darkness of trans artist Terre Thaemlitz’s electroacoustic audio-video installation here, Interstices, 2000–03, one hears a calm and assertive voice describing a dick slowly penetrating someone’s butt. With each inch, we hear the bottom loudly grunt with pain and pleasure while the screen moans through rapid bursts of light. The visual absence of flesh in this moment demands a certain level of erotic imagination.

    The looped eighteen-minute video repurposes music, text, and images from her 2000 album of the same title. Via techniques of framing and “systolic composition” (creating

  • Justin Fitzpatrick, Libra Cat - Inner City, 2017, oil on canvas, 55 x 43".
    picks July 11, 2017

    Justin Fitzpatrick

    Justin Fitzpatrick knows how to toy with perception—not just in the way that we see a thing, but also with how we might approach it in the first place. Flowing between three rooms, the paintings and sculptures in this exhibition turn living organisms into architectural forms and esoteric systems with a stylish, queenly panache. In The Song of Men (all works 2017), a regal-looking aluminum egg sits upon a glass sheet on a stool. Due to its size and scaly, ornamental surface, one can imagine the egg containing some fabulous reptilian creature. Coming out of its sides are cables that connect to

  • View of “Evelyn Taocheng Wang,” 2017.
    picks May 31, 2017

    Evelyn Taocheng Wang

    Having trained in China, the Netherlands, and Germany, Evelyn Taocheng Wang’s first solo exhibition in London vacillates between the East and the West. Drawings and videos are placed on walls and display units painted a soothing shade of pastel green. The addition of a gray rug, along with various floor and table lamps, makes the room feel oddly domestic. Yet ideas surrounding sex and death run through this comfortably appointed show.

    On the walls hang a number of new mixed-media drawings on rice paper that depict scenes from chapters of Cao Xueqin’s Dream of the Red Chamber (1792), one of China’s

  • Ann Craven, Kitty, I Love You Do You Love Me, Yes, No?, 2002, 2002, oil on linen, 12 x 10".
    picks May 04, 2017

    Ann Craven

    Beware, if you’re not a big fan of cute animals: Ann Craven’s current exhibition is chock-full of them, nearly twenty years’ worth. Pandas, birds, cats, and deer, among other critters, are rendered with soft, clean, and precise strokes. The creatures appear regal, as if properly sitting for their portraits, calm and even aware of the viewer’s presence—to a rather unsettling degree. Craven’s gaze is like that of a proud owner or perhaps mother. The canvases, rich with buoyant pinks, greens, and blues, exude a kind of loving care. Their tenderly delineated backgrounds are full of trees, grass,

  • View of “The problem with having a body / is that it always needs to be somewhere,” 2017.
    picks May 02, 2017

    “The problem with having a body / is that it always needs to be somewhere”

    This exhibition, curated by Nora Heidorn, brings together eight artists, seven of whom are women. Proposing convergences and common lines across generations and practices, the works shown here attempt to capture and sometimes contain the female body. The show provokes questions about materiality but more crucially highlights ideas surrounding embodiment and the politics of belonging to or being excluded from a place and time.

    Alexandra Bircken’s Doris, 2013, a headless, halved female torso made out of a wax cast filled with crumpled, grungy clothing, and Zilia Sánchez’s Luna VI, 1986, an oval