Critics’ Picks

View of “Lucas Knipscher, Win McCarthy, Sigmar Polke,” 2013.

New York

Lucas Knipscher, Win McCarthy, Sigmar Polke

Rachel Uffner Gallery
170 Suffolk Street
January 13–March 3

Time hangs heavy on this woebegone group exhibition. All of the sculptures, photographs, and paintings bear the traces of decay, collapse, and erosion: The show seems to offer products of a universe with such a high degree of entropy that it is impossible to keep anything from immediately falling apart. Each artist—two young, one dead—has made his own type of bargain with the inconstancy of the world, and their output reflects the relentless harrow of time rather than heroically opposing it.

Lucas Knipscher’s untitled black-and-white fiber prints from 2012 are warping from the heat in the gallery. Sigmar Polke’s two photographs—each a unique print—from 1986 and 1990 look like a photojournal about a dissolving world. Win McCarthy’s recent sculptures call to mind the anxiety and solitude of passing time in the studio in a way that’s strangely reminiscent of Philip Guston’s late paintings, but there’s also a deft—nearly Zen—gesture of resignation in the face of inevitable disintegration. Particularly affecting are the piles of rubble McCarthy has arranged—including the wryly titled Things Are Coming Together, 2012—which inevitably become disturbed by the feet of visitors to the gallery.

The mood here is melancholic, but never bleak or hopeless. It’s a reminder that to make art in a collapsing world, subtlety is more important than sinew.