Lillian Davies

  • Neïl Beloufa, Screen-Talk, 2020, website screenshot.
    interviews July 06, 2020

    Neïl Beloufa

    As virtual art showrooms proliferated after cities locked down to curb the spread of Covid-19, Neïl Beloufa worked with web designers, developers, and painters to produce The java site, its blinking interface a throwback to the ’90s, features pop-up videos, a live chat, and a series of games that allow browsers to choose an avatar and progress toward the prize of an artist’s edition also available in an online shop. The URL launched in early May, days before the end of France’s confinement, but its clips belong to a lo-fi miniseries that Beloufa made in 2014 titled Home Is

  • Christine Rebet, Brand Band News, 2005, three-channel animation, 35 mm transferred to HD, color, sound, 3 minutes 21 seconds.

    Christine Rebet

    Christine Rebet’s animated film The Square, 2011, glowed in a small darkened room. Like all of the artist’s films (each just minutes long), this work is formed from thousands of hand-prepared still images, shot in 16 or 35 mm and thrust into movement. The Square invokes Samuel Beckett’s 1981 television piece Quad, echoing the synchronized footsteps of Quad’s four dancers and the palette of their hooded costumes. With hand-laid trails of powdered wood, metal, plaster, and clay, Rebet’s work traces the agonies of confinement and incarceration, while alluding to the simple, ennobling act of the

  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Earwitness Inventory (Metal Door Instrument), 2018, Metal door with fold-out scissor slide feature, 31 1/2 x 11 3/4 x 30 1/4".
    picks June 15, 2020

    Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Saâdane Afif

    Though they are silent, the recent works by Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Saâdane Afif on view here are all about sound. On the gallery’s ground floor, Hamdan’s Earwitness Inventory, 2018–19, places some ninety-five objects, both found and designed, on warehouse shelving in an installation that draws from legal testimony and historical disasters to capture the complex nature of sonic memories. The contents, which could stock a Foley artist’s library, include stilettos, boxing gloves, a watermelon, celery stalks, frog guiros, plastic soda bottles, and a popcorn popper; Earwitness Inventory (Animated

  • Caroline Wells Chandler, Ergot Faiery, 2019, acrylic and wool fibers, 66 × 96".

    Caroline Wells Chandler

    About ten years ago, Caroline Wells Chandler was living in East Texas next door to his aging grandparents. The New York–based artist, who identifies as a “fluid non-binary transgender boi,” remembers feeling guilty about “ditching them” to work on a group of large-scale paintings he was then producing, and so, armed with balls of colored yarn purchased at Michaels, he started to crochet, which allowed him to hang out with the couple while working. Chandler continues to use a variation on the slip stitch to make exuberant hand-crocheted “drawings,” twelve of which were stapled to the gallery

  • Marie Losier, David Legrand, 2019, oil stick on rice paper, 38 5⁄8 × 24".

    Marie Losier

    Faithful to her windup 16-mm Bolex, Marie Losier takes cues from the experimental filmmakers of New York, where she was based for two decades. Since returning two years ago to Paris—where Georges Méliès, another important influence for Losier, realized his pioneering work in silent film and special effects—she has begun to move her cinematic work to the exhibition space, presenting her films inside crafted carpentry and together with drawings, sculptures, and installations. “I wanted to make boxes for my films,” she explained, “like in the early days of cinema, with all of the rotoscopes, the

  • Thu Van Tran, Penetrable—Rainforest #2, 2019, pigment and rubber on canvas, 70 7⁄8 × 59 1⁄8". From the series “Penetrable Rainforest,” 2018–.

    Thu Van Tran

    In the 1960s, the US military launched a program called Operation Trail Dust. A tactical maneuver against the Vietcong, the effort involved the destruction of South Vietnamese forests and farmland using so-called rainbow herbicides: Agents Green, Pink, Purple, Blue, White, and, most famously, Orange, manufactured by Monsanto and Dow Chemical. “These rainbow colors,” Thu Van Tran explains, “and the semantic treachery of their nomenclature have stained my mental space.” For her drawings from the 2012– series “Rainbow Herbicides”—four of which (all works cited, 2019) appeared in her recent show “

  • Fiona Rae, Abstract 6, 2019, oil and acrylic on canvas,  16 1/2 x 69".
    picks February 15, 2020

    Fiona Rae

    For the first time since she participated in Damien Hirst’s legendary 1988 “Freeze” survey, Fiona Rae is painting on white grounds. She is categorical about this show’s large-scale works, which were made last year and executed with oil on pearly, luminous acrylic-primed canvases. Whereas Rae’s titles can sometimes wax lyrical, these pictures are all Abstract and numbered chronologically. Adopting a new process, Rae began on sheets of paper—Hahnemühle’s bright white, “the clearest starting point,” she told me—drawing in gouache and aquarelle (five are displayed here) to map out the composition

  • Barbara Hepworth, Torso I (Ulysses), 1958, bronze, 52 × 33 × 25 in".
    picks November 25, 2019

    Barbara Hepworth

    Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975), Dame of the British Empire, sculptor of Single Form, which sits serenely before the United Nations building in Manhattan, has finally been given a monographic exhibition in France. Despite their grace, her sculptures in stone and dense tropical woods are indeed heavy and not easy to ship, though they have been shown several times at the Musée Rodin, beginning in the late 1950s. When invited to contribute to the second edition of the “Exposition internationale de sculpture contemporain,” in 1961, Hepworth presented Torso I (Ulysses), 1958, which is now back in Paris

  • Lauren Coullard, Hang Back, 2019, oil on canvas, 77 x 45 1/4".
    picks October 14, 2019

    Lauren Coullard

    “My work is not in the new, but in reworking history,” Lauren Coullard recently told me at her studio at DOC, the artist residency she cofounded in an abandoned high school building in Paris’s nineteenth arrondissement last year. She also spoke about her painting practice as dealing with “something between the sacred and the profane,” and referenced Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto,” describing an interest in “hybridity between man and woman, animal and artifice.”

    For this solo exhibition in Paris, Coullard borrowed the title and premise of Isaac Asimov’s 1941 science- fiction novella Nightfall

  • Behjat Sadr, Untitled, ca. 1974, oil on aluminum, painted steel, 78 6⁄8 × 39 3⁄8".

    Behjat Sadr

    In Le temps suspendu (Time Suspended), Mitra Farahani’s 2006 documentary on the Iranian painter Behjat Sadr, the artist explains that “in painting, you suspend time.” Sadr passed away ten years ago at the age of eighty-five, but in this exhibition, her decades-long practice crystallized in nine oil paintings (one supported by steel struts running from floor to ceiling), seven collages, and four photographs. Her canvases often read as abstractions, but they are squarely grounded in the real: in the materiality of the varied surfaces and the viscosity of oil paint.

    As an art student in Italy in

  • Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili, how are you from I love you, 2019, print on organic cotton and wooden frames, 8' 1⁄2“ × 12' 9” × 4' 4".

    Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili

    Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili is after “the sensation of losing boundaries.” This feeling emerges, she explains, in the experience of being a new mother: “when you have a newborn and are breastfeeding and your outlines become unstable and it is hard to say where you end and where the world begins.” This state also informs Alexi-Meskhishvili’s relationship to photography. She has, for instance, devised a process in which the limits between photographic media fade: She begins with 4 x 5" negatives and ends with sharp, color-rich, digitally manipulated archival prints. Likewise, her work dissolves

  • Gina Pane, Acqua alta/Pali/Venezia (High Water/Piles/Venice), 1968–70/2019, twelve Duralinox pillars, metal tray, muddy water, painted lettering. Installation view.

    Gina Pane

    In 1963, Gina Pane (1939–1990) graduated from Paris’s École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where she studied painting and lithography, and quickly became a player in the city’s art scene. This exhibition, “Terre protégée” (Protected Earth), curated by Emma-Charlotte Gobry-Laurencin, featured two paintings from this time, Untitled (no 20), 1962–65, and Untitled (no 31), 1962–67, both modestly sized, portrait-oriented works in oil on canvas. Composed of sharp vertical bands or triangles of bold contrasting colors, separated by paler shades or stripes of white, these works, according to