Critics’ Picks


Claire Greenshaw

Clint Roenisch
190 Saint Helen's Avenue
October 25–December 21, 2019

Claire Greenshaw’s drawings and sculptures are riddled with holes. Along with other circular motifs—eyes, planets, bodily orifices—they open up questions about perception and representation.

At the exhibition’s entrance, two life-size bronze fingers assertively jut out from the wall in an eye-poking gesture, alerting visitors to the visual and conceptual stimulation ahead (Perception Management, all works cited 2019). Inside the gallery, a large slice of freestanding wall covered with soft swipes, streaks, and smudges of graphite stands as an ode to unmediated mark-making (Observer Effect). Smooth, round tunnels of varying sizes have been cut into the wall and through the five framed graphite and colored pencil drawings hanging on its opposite side. These apertures interact with and rupture the openings Greenshaw has photorealistically rendered in each framed work—such as an infant’s head pushing through the birth canal, and the splayed legs of Rodin’s Iris, Messenger of the Gods, ca. 1890—which creates a playful conversation between the two representational systems: expressive, embodied mark-making and rationalized, objectifying realism.

On the gallery’s surrounding walls, Greenshaw tests other applications of each system with additional found images. For The Shadow and the Screen, Greenshaw remade in gauzy graphite a creased photograph of a woman on a beach, and then cut out a separate abstract stick figure, stuck it to her studio window, and copied its dark shadow onto her image at the same scale as the woman. The result is a perplexing, layered composition. In Feeling Delirious?, the artist explicitly turns to a third system of representation: The finely duplicated text describes oil-drilling into a feminized earth. (“Slowly a valve is opened and a stream of oil shoots into the tank.”) Greenshaw asks us to consider how the eye—alongside its accomplices, the hand and the mind—creates both brilliance and violence.