Critics’ Picks

View of “Esther Stocker,” 2013.

Vienna

Esther Stocker

Krobath | Wien
Eschenbachgasse 9
April 10 - June 1

Artist Esther Stocker either chases images into the space of the viewer or drives them back into the shallow depth of the wall. At the center of her artistic practice exists the grid—the foundational organizing principle and paradigm of visual art of the twentieth century that was lauded for its generative output while maintaining an imperviousness to change. Stocker offers new variations on the grid in this exhibition, be they in black, white, or shades of gray, as well as structured in new artistic media.

In her untitled series from 2013, Stocker transfers photographs of her previously painted grids onto epoxy resin, achieving a repetitive seriality with the materials she employs as well as within the images themselves, made up of isomorphic lines and planes in varying intensities of contrast. The epoxy resin coating is supported by an underlying wood construction, creating the shape of crumpled-up wads of seemingly discarded paper, the creases distorting the homogeneity of the cross-sectioned lines. Displayed on the floor, installed sideways on the wall, or overturned on the ceiling of the gallery, the sculptures are haphazardly yet strategically scattered throughout the room.

The variable topography of these sculptures increasingly breaks up the rectilinear grid until finally giving way to a new, fractured system—the antigrid realized in actual space—eliciting a departure from modernist language that draws its energy from the tradition of flattened abstract painting. One’s location in the room determines different visual relationships between the viewer, the object, and the work’s dimension. The result of these varying relationships tosses the viewer within, as opposed to in front of, the now surrounding diagrammatic gesture, the source of access to the constant reinvention found in Stocker’s artmaking process.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.