Critics’ Picks

Adriana Czernin, Untitled, 2009, watercolor, ink, pencil on paper, 40 x 26".
 

Adriana Czernin, Untitled, 2009, watercolor, ink, pencil on paper, 40 x 26".
 

Vienna

Adriana Czernin

Galerie Martin Janda
Eschenbachgasse 11
March 18–April 30, 2009

Adriana Czernin is well known for her detailed pencil drawings that depict women concealed in dense ornamentation. Clenched fists and flexed feet express great discomfort in these works, while floral forms appear restrictive and imprisoning. However, her recent watercolors indicate that she is now on a totally different path. The women have disappeared, and in their place are rigid ornaments slung around thick ropes. At once abstract and completely objective, these compositions have an unfathomable force; they seem to break free of any pictorial restraints and make room for themselves on the page.

In a different body of new work, which includes Verschlungenheit (Crisscrossing), 2008, Czernin depicts snakes slithering over their own overpowering shadows. There is an impressive anxiety in all her new images that gives the sense of eruption and awakening, both drawing the gaze into the picture and repulsing it. Her new works dispense with mellow forms and colors and attest to life full of contradictions, at once totally pleasant and dauntingly explosive.

Translated from German by Jane Brodie.