Critics’ Picks

Nicole Ondre, Cadmium Yellow Window, 2013, oil paint on wall, oil paint on paper monoprint, dimensions variable.

Nicole Ondre, Cadmium Yellow Window, 2013, oil paint on wall, oil paint on paper monoprint, dimensions variable.


“After Finitude”

Or Gallery
236 E Pender St
February 23–April 20, 2013

Artist Eli Bornowksy, who curated “After Finitude,” claimed that he approached the exhibition in the same way he would paint a picture. As a result, the viewer can consider the work of all four artists separately or as part of a larger compositional unit, which creates tension between each piece and its participation in an ensemble. Ensemble seems a particularly apt term since the work by three paint-based artists, Neil Campbell, Nicole Ondre, and Cheyney Thompson, is accompanied by selections from Hanne Darboven’s musical compositions.

Thompson’s paintings, which at first glance appear expressionist, are composed of a predetermined amount of paint applied in certain colors. His titles, such as P31.55-YG31.55-r1.31-b1.31-bg1.31-yr1.31 (65.72ml), 2013, much like those of Christopher Williams’s photographs, list the information for each picture’s production, detailing the amount and color of paint used. The title thus no longer functions only as the denomination of an object but also as an integral part of the work, a concept as much as a label. In unexpected ways, this echoes Ondre’s painting installation Cadmium Yellow Window, 2013, also process-based but less conceptually driven, comprised of a wall painting facing a monoprint made from pressing a large sheet of paper onto the adjacent paint. Ondre’s work, like Thompson’s, examines its own making, the print indexing the paint on the facing wall. Campbell’s two paintings, Probe and Hangdown, both 2013, however, seem less interested in process and more concerned with visual effect, which saves the exhibition from feeling monotone. That said, similar to Ondre’s work, Campbell’s also occupies opposite walls, so that when standing in the direct center of the gallery, as if in the center of an axis, the relationship between Ondre and Campbell resonates.

These visual and conceptual relationships encourage the viewer to feel as if they are simultaneously inside a singular work while looking at each piece separately. This approach to curation thus creates tension between the work of each artist and the way in which those works become material for Bornowsky’s own kind of composition—the exhibition itself—a dynamic that is thankfully left unresolved, all the while Darboven’s music plays.