Critics’ Picks

View of “Dianna Molzan: Earthquake Weather,” 2015. From left: untitled, 2015; untitled, 2015.

View of “Dianna Molzan: Earthquake Weather,” 2015. From left: untitled, 2015; untitled, 2015.


Dianna Molzan

kaufmann repetto
Via di Porta Tenaglia, 7
September 17–November 12, 2015

Dianna Molzan’s paintings and painting sculptures are still defying my expectations with serious panache. Fine construction and head-turning Pop-formal ingenuity remain a hallmark, while her weirdly reserved flamboyance has a fresh edge in this new group of thirteen oddballs. No less quixotic than her swollen and sculpted canvas objects are the seemingly straight, quasi-genre paintings. How funny. Humor gathers around the soft and stuffed elements in many of Molzan’s paintings (all works untitled and 2015), such as the squishy white canvas tube hugging the perimeter of an exclamatory abstraction: an inflatable life raft or padded cell. There is also the corpulent, droopy pillow that is ecstatically painted and hoisted up on a golden stick like a picket sign or the image of a new saint on parade. Another large canvas is an allover squiggle field of thread painted over with blurry swells of white and forest green, with five flat shapes dangling off the surface that visually quote cutlery as if to comment on the undetected structure of design in daily life.

The show is called “Earthquake Weather,” and Molzan has indeed been thinking about false causality, as well as patterns of cognitive dissonance in relation to standards of taste and the curious authorship of design conventions. Her ongoing love affair with Memphis design and other formative aesthetic wellsprings of the 1980s (read: youth) makes extra sense here in this city that birthed such form and style. Taste’s many sly discomforts and far-reaching psychological ramifications are important excitements for Molzan.