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“Daydream from 2013”

CANADA
333 & 331 Broome Street
July 22, 2016–August 26, 2016

Libby Rothfeld, Option #1, 2016, tile, grout, cement, porcelain, potatoes, glassware, rock, plastic basket, 33 x 36 x 21".

2013: too recent to be nostalgic about, but long enough ago to feel like another lifetime. The Surrealists thought they could harness the latent energies of outmoded objects to revolutionize society. In contrast, the artists in this group exhibition, curated by Matthew Flaherty, find potential in the barely obsolete. The key to the show is, perhaps, in its title: “Daydream from 2013.” These makers prefer dreaming while awake, as that diaphanous membrane guarding the unconscious becomes looser, closer, and probably looks a lot like the fabrics and shiny resins of Olivia Erlanger’s wall sculptures, or Anna Glantz’s Waiting for Paul Revere (all works cited, 2016), a painting of a hunky male visage floating near a startled geezer in a nightcap. They’re both trapped in a digital-looking rectangle while hovering over an amorphous ground.

Rose Marcus’s photos are like weirder Louise Lawlers: interrogations of museological structures that, in their odd angles and futuristic frames, also feel supernatural, as if you’re tripping through the Met’s modern wing in a fugue state. Libby Rothfeld’s Option #1, offers up a salmon-colored shopping basket full of potatoes on top of a tiled base. The base carries detritus likely sourced from a restaurant supply store on the Bowery: doll-size cups filled with what appears to be clear liquid, and miniature straws. The potatoes have enormous roots, like ratty lengths of knotted hair. Among them rests a tenderly wrought crown of clay, and sculpted into the crown and base are human faces, which give Rothfeld’s shrine a strange, oneiric feeling of sentience. The artist deftly submerges the mystical in the material—like everyone else here—unleashing extraordinary sensations from seemingly ordinary images and things.

Nicholas Chittenden Morgan