Critics’ Picks

Media Information Transmission Center, 2003.

New York

Jules de Balincourt

Feuer/Messler
319 Grand Street
May 17 - June 14

“Land of Many Uses,” Jules de Balincourt’s solo show at LFL, takes its name from the tone-deaf US Forest Service slogan, which would seem to cheerfully allude to old-growth logging. The spirit of rueful irony is borne out in paintings that show human interlopers, often nude, gamboling cluelessly through post-Edenic sylvan settings. But while nature is clearly on de Balincourt’s agenda, naturalism isn’t: Working mostly in enamel and spray paint on wood, he uses stencils and X-Acto knives to create layered, collagelike compositions that frequently wander into surreality. In Media Information Transmission Center, 2003, two hirsute DJs broadcast from a cabin in the woods; the signals emerging from their satellite dishes are pictured as bands of color worthy of Bridget Riley. There are large-scale three-dimensional works here too: Flood Piece, 2002, is a model of the Los Angeles neighborhood Malibu Lake, built in a wooden tub. Over the course of forty-minute intervals, the tiny bungalows are gradually submerged in blue-green water; suddenly, the ecology of fear looks as beguiling as a fairy tale.