Critics’ Picks

Anthony Campuzano, Forecast, 1998, newspaper, tape, projector. Installation view, 2013.

New York

Anthony Campuzano

Churner and Churner
205 Tenth Avenue
March 21 - May 4

Many artists today attempt to remove any evidence of their hand from their work, but Philadelphia-based artist Anthony Campuzano chooses instead to flood his otherwise reductive compositions with a compulsive scribble. Areas are densely filled, sometimes thrice over, with colored or black pen lines, reminiscent of a certain vein of outsider art like that of Adolf Wölfli. But what puts Campuzano in a unique class is his deep understanding of the history of abstraction and his ability to negotiate it around his unpretentious handicraft.

The Storm, 2013, for example, is a jumble of amorphous ink shapes on board that at first resembles a late Paul Thek abstraction; upon moving closer, one sees that the picture’s tense and muted surface is due to a web of frenetic doodles that traverse these forms. Poking out from this plane is what looks like a crude representation of a Post-it note and a thought bubble locked in an intimate dialogue, one that is colloquial yet poetically symbolic of any relationship under duress.

Campuzano’s compulsive tendencies also venture into film with Forecast, 1998/2013, in which he takes cropped images from six months of weather forecasts from the Delaware County Daily Times in 1998 and puts them in chronological order on a filmstrip projector. What we are presented with is the ultimate abstraction of time and place—that spot in Philadelphia during that year—via non-figurative sunrays, curlicues of wind, and fulminous jags that move by quickly in succession. Campuzano stands as a symbol of how far we’ve come in regards to blurring the lines between high and low art, in an art world that can now comfortably discuss Martín Ramírez in the same sentence as Josef Albers. Campuzano’s agile synthesis is nothing new (think Jean Dubuffet, who went so far as to collect art by the aforementioned Wölfili), but is still a relevant and illuminating pursuit.