Critics’ Picks

Elise Adibi, Graphite Drawing, 2011, rabbit skin glue and graphite on canvas, 72 x 72".

Elise Adibi, Graphite Drawing, 2011, rabbit skin glue and graphite on canvas, 72 x 72".

New York

Elise Adibi

Churner and Churner
205 Tenth Avenue
May 24–June 30, 2012

Using a process determined equally by seriality and human presence, Elise Adibi draws on the sparse parameters of Minimalist facture to, paradoxically, call attention to the unique, individual character of artistic production. Five six-foot-square and four thirty-inch-square canvases in this exhibition showcase repetitive mark-making: Some works feature accumulated brushstrokes, while others offer gridded patterns with forms that are complemented by the weave of the canvases upon which they are executed. Adibi works with a limited range of traditional artistic media—carbon, charcoal, and oil paint—but rather than evoking an industrial aesthetic, the greyscale gestures in these pieces, combined with barely perceivable irregularities and indexical traces (such as smudges and breaks in line), consistently allude to the personal, physical process of their creation. This symbiosis between artist and work extends to the bodily, particularly in Graphite Painting on Copper, 2012, which is also made with urine—presumably the artist’s own.

Graphite Drawing, 2011, testifies more subtly to Adibi’s presence and consists of crisscrossing lines that extend uniformly across a blank canvas in a style that immediately recalls the gridded logic of works by Agnes Martin. Building upon this reduction of form, Adibi uses repetition as a means of progress and accumulation. Multiple pencil lines here invite a long viewing experience that reveals the forms of this seemly sparse drawing to be just as visually pleasurable as they are logical; their patterns produce an almost decorative motif that is enhanced by the artist’s application of rabbit skin glue to the drawing’s surface, contributing a glistening, ephemeral effect that both disrupts and contributes to the complicated experience of the canvas.