Critics’ Picks

Cape Town

Cameron Platter

blank projects
10 Lewin Street, Woodstock
October 19–November 25, 2017

In 2013, South African artist Cameron Platter collaborated with weavers at ELC Art and Craft Center Rorke’s Drift, a storied art hub in rural KwaZulu-Natal province, on wool tapestries. Their abstract forms are based on digital collages the artist created from DVD covers for interracial pornographic films found online. Rather than amplify and ironize the noise of this libidinal media, Platter’s hand-spun tapestries obscure the source of his ludic play. His latest exhibition, titled “ZOL,” includes five colored-pencil drawings inspired by the same source material. It is the translation across media that energizes these works: The respective green and silver grounds of 93-asfAJIJJJJJJJ384-00z (Pink) and DE-39637619 (Skylar) (all works 2017) reveal an incremental method of filling in color; they are monuments to a determinedly slow studio process.

Platter came to prominence in the aughts with a repertoire of impudently Pop drawings and sculptures that were insistently figurative and often framed by gonzo narratives. His three enamel-painted wood sculptures displayed here lightly recall this earlier self. Reclining Figure Red Yellow Pink Closer (ohhhh) presents a bright yellow imitation of a plastic lounger, with an upright, noodle-like red piece evoking a human. Partly named after a 2003 song by R. Kelly, Rainbow Thoia Thoing  is a sculptural tower composed of the likenesses of two white deck chairs and four cinder blocks, painted black; the absurd juxtaposition of title and form successfully renders his enduring interest in collage and popular culture into a three-dimensional object. Pivoting between figuration and abstraction, nine drawings—of marks that almost become effigies and, in the case of Beware Beware, an elephant walking on its hind legs—are, first and foremost, smudged sites of uncluttered invention.