Jen Hutton

  • David Merritt, tonight (thesky), 2010, graphite and watercolor on paper, 19 1/2 x 19 1/4".
    picks July 06, 2011

    David Merritt

    Since the mid-1990s, the meat of David Merritt’s drawings has been written words—the lyrics and titles of popular songs, to be exact—and in his latest exhibition this material generates themes of presentness and loss. From a distance, the collective presence of the works on view here seems to add up to not much more than a whisper, so to appreciate Merritt’s fine approach to the medium one must lean in closely.

    Though the words serve as connective keys, the forms in the drawings are made intuitively, which lends a playful physicality to Merritt's standard schoolhouse cursive. For instance, in

  • View of “tear here,” 2011.
    picks May 18, 2011

    John Eisler

    If the title of John Eisler’s ambitious exhibition “tear here” is an allusion to commodity and packaging design, it is also, tellingly, a directive. The bulk of the exhibition follows this command to the letter, with a suite of large wall works that are full of holes, though the pieces have not been torn but punctured right through their picture planes. They float too: literally off the wall, from simple metal brackets—and figuratively between painting and assemblage. Each one begins with a large rectangle of corrugated plastic, which has been cut, creased, and then peppered with a pattern of

  • Lindsay Seers, Extramission 6 (Black Maria) (detail), 2009, still from a black-and-white video, 15 minutes 25 seconds.
    picks April 13, 2011

    Lindsay Seers

    The primary component of Lindsay Seers’s installation Extramission 6 (Black Maria), 2009, is a profound video that ruminates on memory and perception by means of the artist’s invented biography. Projected inside a structure that resembles a tarpapered shack—a reconstruction of the original Black Maria, Thomas Edison’s late-nineteenth-century film production studio—the video assembles the artist’s curious self-mythology through interview clips, third-person narration, and archival material. Its core narrative tracks Seers’s attempt to recoup her photographic memory—which she lost in her first

  • Geoffrey Pugen, Sahara Sahara, 2009, still from a two-channel video in HD, 5 minutes 30 seconds.
    picks March 02, 2011

    Geoffrey Pugen

    Geoffrey Pugen’s two-channel looping video Sahara Sahara, 2009, traces the actions of a group of female vigilantes as they roam the streets, vandalizing cars and toppling gas stations. Their motives are unclear, but their resolve is obvious, even when a team of burly bounty hunters follows their trail into the woods resulting in a tense hand-to-hand altercation. If this sounds like a B-movie classic, that’s entirely Pugen’s intent; he has slyly borrowed from heist and action genres, conflating the styles here in a series of rapid cuts. He uses two wide-screen monitors to present simultaneous

  • Kara Uzelman, Field Tent and Antenna, 2010, nylon sails, aluminium poles, wood, twine, bolts, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks November 23, 2010

    Kara Uzelman

    Kara Uzelman’s exploration of telecommunications history and acoustic landscapes in this exhibition-cum-residency fittingly takes its title from an arcane communiqué. “If you receive this, you will soon bask in glory” is a translation of the first message relayed from Lille to Paris by Claude Chappe’s semaphore telegraph in 1791. At the time, Chappe’s network of pulley-operated blades atop towers across France was a telecommunications innovation, but by the mid–nineteenth century, it had been rendered obsolete by the arrival of the telegraph. Like Chappe, Uzelman resists latter-day technology

  • Shary Boyle, Live Old, 2009, porcelain, china paint, beads, luster glaze, 12 x 10 x 8 1/2”.
    picks October 07, 2010

    Shary Boyle

    Inside one of several recessed vitrines in a darkened gallery, a tiny polymer clay figurine titled Birth, 2008, by Shary Boyle, depicts a young woman moments after labor, on her knees and still tethered to her baby via an umbilical cord, her face seeming blankly indifferent toward the life form that has just emerged from her body. Though it is one of the smallest works on view, Birth is a poignant key to the underlying themes of Boyle’s exhibition, titled “Flesh and Blood,” as it is these substantial yet abject components of human existence that she employs to denote both the alien and the

  • View of “A to B,” 2010.
    picks July 16, 2010

    “A to B”

    While the expression “A to B” suggests the shortest distance between two points, artist Micah Lexier hasn’t cut any corners in curating this exhibition. Paralleling the serial and sequential aspects of his own work, Lexier has here brought together seventy-one objects classified individually as pairs, comparisons, or sequences into a precise and delightful arrangement.

    Site-specific contributions by Josh Thorpe, Neil Campbell, and Kay Rosen complement the remainder of the selection, pieces housed in four horizontal vitrines. Of these small works by thirty-five artists, and prosaic objects from

  • Marcel van Eeden, Untitled, 2010, graphite on paper, 7 1/2 x 11”. From the series “The Lone Lake Murders,” 2010.
    picks May 11, 2010

    Marcel van Eeden

    Marcel van Eeden’s exhibition “The Lone Lake Murders” pieces together a fictitious weekend event in September 1922 around the perimeter of Lone Lake, a fitting nonplace for a noirish story. In the exhibition, which takes its title from an old found pulp novel, a fragmented plot pans out over twenty-six small works on paper that are installed on matte black walls, which underscore the somber mood but also imitate a museological display.

    These works are the latest in an ongoing project van Eeden began eighteen years ago, wherein he vowed to complete one drawing a day based on photographic source

  • View of “Oliver Husain,” 2010.
    picks February 16, 2010

    Oliver Husain

    Occupying two adjacent galleries separated by a transparent vinyl curtain, Oliver Husain’s multivalent exhibition “Hovering Proxies” mischievously refigures the boundary between subject and object. Surrounded by a tropical suburban panorama depicted in fourteen framed photographs, The Dupe’s Garden, 2010, dominates the first room. It is an open architecture delineated by sheer fabric panels, handpainted silk scarves, and a beaded curtain suspended from commercial light stands. Materially, Husain’s sensitive yet lush approach echoes the porousness of this liminal space. At the structure’s center,