Critics’ Picks

Birth, 2007, C-print, 30 x 40".

New York

Daniel Gordon

Feuer/Messler
319 Grand Street
May 23 - June 30

For “Thin Skin II,” his first solo show at LFL, Daniel Gordon presents photographs of collages and sculptures—both composed of other photographs. Each is a tight diorama of figures in a stated narrative, like Bee Eater (all works 2007), a head whose face is covered in bees, likely the ones that he will consume, against a patterned sofa.

Gordon’s process recalls that of Romare Bearden’s early Photostats and Richard Hamilton’s bawdy photo collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?, 1956. For those artists, collage and rephotography were about reassembling fractures caused by war, sexuality, or the divide between representation and abstraction in painting. However, Gordon’s fractures stay on the surface. They are (excuse the pun) about epidermal angst, featuring images of humans whose fragile, fragmented skin is in duress, as in Bee Eater, Headless Man, and Birth. The latter is a simulation of a baby being wrenched from a body, its skin torn apart by the baby’s freakishly large head. If Gordon’s title, “Thin Skin II,” is read as “thin skin again,” as in regeneration (what skin does), it becomes a proposition of hope, a way to foil the fissures that he’s assembled. If at times some of the jarring bits, like the images of real hands next to the sculpted paper limbs, are not really allowed to rub against one another, in other places they cause so much friction that the photographs feel less like a film set and more like an inescapable panorama.