Critics’ Picks

Ellie Hunter, Syndrome of Subjective Doubles ii, 2019, ink-jet print on vinyl mesh, 25 1/2 x 31 1/2”.

Ellie Hunter, Syndrome of Subjective Doubles ii, 2019, ink-jet print on vinyl mesh, 25 1/2 x 31 1/2”.

San Francisco

Laura Figa and Ellie Hunter

Bass & Reiner Gallery
1275 Minnesota Street Suite #207
March 22–May 18, 2019

The human figure is mostly absent from the minimalist markings, assemblage sculptures, and layered photographic images in Laura Figa and Ellie Hunter’s “Doppia,” yet the hum of the animate carries a powerful charge in the space. Both artists obliquely engage with the body and its coalescence with man-made materials. In Figa’s three graphite drawings, shapes with slight variations are repeated in groups of two, four, and seven, arranged on the paper like musical scores. Close examination reveals that these abstracted forms are more freighted with meaning than they first appear; each represents a bodily accessory—the padded pants of a football player, a buckle that might attach a harness or baby carrier, a device that allows a woman to urinate standing upright.

In Hunter’s four flat works in the show, photographs are ink-jet printed on vinyl mesh, superimposed, and then sewn together. A human presence haunts these images of deserted scenes (a pool in winter, a damaged lawn recliner) overlaid with plants and what appear to be ancient statues. Stone feet dangle at the bottom of Syndrome of Subjective Doubles ii, 2019, and are echoed in the aluminum feet attached to the metal chair legs of Trying it on i, 2019, Hunter’s posthuman sculpture nearby. Black, white, and floral fabrics stretched across the chair frame recall the silhouette of pants, while a handwrought gold flower trailing from a red rope breathes life into this otherwise inorganic form.

Seemingly carved into the drywall of the gallery are fifteen minimalist divots, like a thumb index in a dictionary. Figa calls these interventions strophes, a term related to a Greek chorus as well as punctuation marks. Like another score, these indentations suggest an embodied engagement with the space.