Critics’ Picks

Charles Mayton, (sp k y -l sh n), 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 77 x 60".

Charles Mayton, (sp k y -l sh n), 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 77 x 60".

New York

“A Scanner, Darkly”

David Lewis | 57 Walker St
57 Walker St
October 8–November 17, 2013

For Aubrey Mayer’s 213A (with Jacqueline Humphries, “Land of Giants”), 2013, a large wool-felt book has been filled with thousands of photographs of Jacqueline Humphries aggressively painting a black-and-white pattern. Laid flat on the floor, the book includes twelve pages, nine with 190 images on each side. Throughout, Mayer has zoomed in close to Humphries’s face, then out at the painting; some images focus on minutiae like the artist’s limp ponytail. The linear narrative of how the painting came to be takes a backseat to the darting, exhaustive rhythm of the photographer’s realizations and therefore our own, further accentuated by our having to flip the linen pages. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition of eleven artists—titled after Philip K. Dick’s trippy, psychological novel about dual identity—bills itself as a study of why the old has always been old and the new is permanently new. Perhaps the work here feels new because of its insistence on forward motion. It’s art meant for athletic observation.

Take Israel Lund’s untitled acrylic painting of an iPhone photograph of a Daniel Buren painting; Lund includes both the glare of the flash on Buren’s pure white stripes and the unintentional graininess of the amateur camera. He translates into paint the discrepancies of a technology meant to preserve the painting, taking us forward and backward simultaneously. Other works here call for this especially cerebral kind of decoding. In Nicolás Guagnini’s series of ceramics, “Homer Lusk,” 2013, human body parts are tightly compacted into gleaming jet-black puzzles. Charles Mayton’s canvases suggest whimsical ciphers, such as (sp k y –l sh n), 2013, in which the letters of the title appear amid a grid of apostrophes, turning their reading into an exhaustive act. Most mysterious of all is Lucy Dodd’s huge Salamandvia, 2013, which almost emulates something natural. Its list of materials, mostly applied with the artist’s feet, reads like an apothecary: moose poop, yerba mate, pond water, wild mushrooms, volcanic ash, and “nature’s miracle,” to name a few. Dodd later added paint to refine the composition; the contrast only seems to place the work closer to a potion than a painting.