Critics’ Picks

Kate Gilmore, Like This, Before, 2013, video, wood, glass, paint. Installation view.

Kate Gilmore, Like This, Before, 2013, video, wood, glass, paint. Installation view.

Lincoln, MA

“PAINT THINGS: Beyond the Stretcher”

DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
51 Sandy Pond Road
January 27–April 21, 2013

At what point can a painting become sculpture? The deCordova Sculpture Park addresses this question in “PAINT THINGS,” an exhibition that features work by eighteen artists who blur the boundaries between media by incorporating painting into expansive installations, videos, and performances. Jessica Stockholder’s [JS 492], 2009, anchors the show by imposing clashing décor on the gallery’s walls and floors. Loosely parodying a room, she includes a rug, shower curtain, table, and lamp covered in orange plastic, fake fur, copper foil, and daubs of colorful, garish paint, suggesting that paint is just another one of the work’s compositional elements.

Instead of using the gallery as her architectural constraint, Kate Gilmore, in Like This, Before, 2013, designed a six-foot-tall black wooden structure with an inclined plane divided into multiple sections. Video documentation of the work’s accompanying performance plays next to the resulting installation, wherein the artist, dressed in a skirt and red heels, places atop the scaffolding a number of glass vases filled with white paint. She then kicks over each of the vases, shattering them so that the liquid slides down the plane and pools into bowls below. The result is a chaotically created black-and-white sculpture. Paint also acts as a conduit between the female body and art production in Cheryl Donegan’s video, Head, 1993, which depicts the artist lapping and spitting up milk that spews from a green bottle to a rock sound track.

Alex Hubbard similarly privileges the artist’s messy process in his video The Border, The Ship, 2011. His ink-stained hands visibly manipulate objects such as skeleton bones, which he ties to a rope and lowers into a bucket of blue paint. Rather than producing a polished image, Hubbard, along with the many artists in this exhibition, reanimates paint as a generative, open-ended, and experimental material.