Critics’ Picks

View of “Dan Shaw-Town,” 2009.

View of “Dan Shaw-Town,” 2009.

New York

Dan Shaw-Town

Gallery-C at Team Gallery
83 Grand Street
September 3–October 3, 2009

“Drawings” is a deceptive, if challenging, title for Dan Shaw-Town’s first solo exhibition in New York. The five untitled works on view (all 2009) feature pieces of paper copiously coated with a lustrous layer of graphite and incorporating additional media such as spray paint, enamel, and found objects. Only one piece is hung flush against the wall; the rest are displayed as sculpture—shimmering dark gray folded sheets resting either directly on the floor or on unorthodox wall mounts such as clothes hangers or a simple cardboard shelf.

Shaw-Town’s graphite burnishing technique transforms plain paper into sumptuous faux fabrics and leatherlike materials that beg to be touched, possessed, and worn. In addition to the silvery drawings’ being shown at this gallery (in a neighborhood overrun with high-end boutiques), their presentation on hangers and shelves accentuates their couture kinship. Untitled Diptych comprises two graphite-on-paper sheets neatly folded lengthwise, each slung over a pink plastic clothes hanger like twin pairs of slacks. Another folded drawing sits atop a scrap of cardboard supported by IKEA-style metal brackets, like a sweater on a makeshift wardrobe shelf. Even the piece hung on the wall in the most traditional manner manages to conjure a cut of buttery, metalized leather awaiting transformation into a trendy handbag or jacket. In all the works, the abundant creases and folds—scars from multiple foldings and refoldings—flaunt Shaw-Town’s handling of materials. The “Drawings” are themselves luxury goods, and by flirting with the viewer’s desire for tactile appreciation, Shaw-Town draws attention to that which separates his artworks from other commodities.