Critics’ Picks

Eve Fowler, with it which it as it if it is to be, 2016, 16mm black-and-white film transferred to video, sound, 33 minutes 2 seconds.

New York

Eve Fowler

PARTICIPANT INC
253 East Houston Street Ground Floor
November 6 - December 18

The dull throb of light from the neon sculpture that spells out the title of Eve Fowler’s latest exhibit and of the artwork itself––with it which it as it if it is to be (all works 2016)––bathes the entrance in a soft glow. The artist’s other piece that shares the same name, a black-and-white 16-mm film transferred to video, consists of a series of studio visits with women artists in New York and Los Angeles. Fowler captures each maker doing her particular actions, workaday on the surface, that produce art. Different sets of hands, like dancers, shape clay, pour paint, attach drill bits, and cut through space. The only sound is a recitation of Gertrude Stein’s 1910 text Many Many Women, a hypnotic parade of sensible words rendered utterly nonsensical, but meaningful nonetheless, via repetition and rearrangement. An excerpt: “Each one is one, there are many of them. Each one is one. Each one is that one the one that one is.” These lines gain strength by being heard, not by being read silently—and it’s fitting that Stein’s language has found a new life, performed as music.

Fowler’s film, as delicate as filigree, shows women as numinous beings who unashamedly love, give birth, and feel. They are artists simply talking and doing, formulating ideas and inventing things. It is a quietly explosive work: a subtle, simple document of female camaraderie and process, and the subdued magic of everyday life.