Laura U. Marks

  • Shonagh Adelman

    Some recent lesbian and feminist erotic imagery suggests that the road to libidinal democracy is to create as many objects of desire as possible. By contrast, Shonagh Adelman’s installation Tele Donna, 1994, takes the view that by definition desire cannot be captured in images but must creep around them.

    Entering a large, darkened room, the viewer encountered 11 tall, black-lit boxes arranged in a V. Each pictures the figure of a woman from a different era of Western history. This reverse phalanx formation was itself interesting, for the rather intimidating images both confronted the viewer and

  • Joanne Tod

    In her new series of paintings, Joanne Tod asserts the value of painting and painterliness against the more ascetic qualities of lately trendier art forms—although her only innovation in these very large works is to paint on layers of nylon mesh. The panel underneath appears hazily through the top layer, which is half obscured by figures. All the works replicate a museum or gallery interior, such as the Henry Moore room at the Art Gallery of Ontario, or Matthew Barney’s installation at Barbara Gladstone Gallery in New York. In front of these scenes a couture-clad model appears, hard-edged against

  • “The Final Frontier”

    The frontier examined in this exhibition is both an internal and external one: that of the body as it meets and dissolves into the technological. It is becoming clear that the things we have thought of as integral and unique to the body no longer are, as technological prostheses continue to amplify and distend its properties. Genetic and cosmetic selection can turn out legions of identically desirable chickens, tomatoes, and pectorals; true love can be found in the virtual meeting places of the Net.

    To renegotiate what counts as human is not just to accept technological innovation; it also involves

  • Teresa Cullen

    Teresa Cullen’s painterly surfaces seem simultaneously to explode and engulf the objects she depicts. Cullen uses color to intoxicating effect: rich browns, smoldering oranges, whites as pale as translucent skin.

    Color in her paintings exceeds the boundaries of objects—or the objects’ like solar cells, absorb and intensify ambient color. In Time’s Backyard, 1992, for example, white forms hover on an earthy grayish surface grazed with flame-colored yellows and sky-blues. The objects seem dematerialized—both time-worn and ethereal—but the surface that engenders them remains tactile and sensual.

    In

  • John Scott

    This simple, untitled installation—John Scott’s sincere-biker-esthetic memento mori—invited reflection on the transience of life, virility, and fossil fuels. It consisted of 20 skulls-and-crossbones on paper warped to accommodate a light bulb placed behind each image that was, in turn, hooked up to a tape recorder. All the light bulbs flickered, feebly and brightly, in response to the sound of the artist singing Kurt Weill’s “September Song.” This matrix of drawings with lights connected by black cables recalled some of Christian Boltanski’s installations, which used similar means to memorialize

  • Andy Fabo

    “It gets harder and harder to throw things away,” Andy Fabo says, in a taped studio visit that accompanied his recent show. Fabo preserves the detritus of his stunningly cluttered work and living space—old grant applications, Tom of Finland drawings, wrapping paper, files inherited from a friend who died—not slavishly, but with an offhand respect for what it may become. Recent personal and political circumstances produce seismic shifts in these layers of accumulated junk. Old things suddenly abut new things with surprising appropriateness, or acquire meanings they did not have. AIDS has been

  • Deborah Samuel

    The photographs in Deborah Samuel’s show “Venus Passage” bear witness to ritual violence: she paints her models in thick black strokes that evoke bodily alterations ranging from decorative scarification to sex change. Some of the “surgery” has been drastic, as though to introduce some missing organs or otherwise to mediate between the unprotected body and the cruel environment in which it must function. A rope of stitches up a male back suggests either the removal or the implantation of a spine—though the latter seems more likely, since for Samuel masculinity is severely in crisis: her male