Critics’ Picks

Lucy Kim, An Edge, 2014, oil paint, acrylic paint, spray enamel, urethane resin, epoxy polyurethane glue, burlap on wood, 54 x 27".

New York

Lucy Kim

Lisa Cooley
107 Norfolk Street
January 11–February 15, 2015

Lucy Kim’s latest paintings operate between a fidelity to realist depiction and to dreamscapes that distort her deliberate verisimilitude. This is a departure for Kim, who previously molded in aluminum foil to achieve less representational and more abstract renderings of the body. Her new casts and relief paintings of friends’ hands, bodies, and teeth constitute a refreshing expansion on narrative with personal and metaphorical allusions. She eschews the hyperreal imagery and anodyne abstraction so frequently seen in painting today and drills into messy, literal reality, all the while bridging the indexical to the imaginary. Kim handles the metaphorical via two modes, extension and reversion.

Tomorrow, Tomorrow (Leeza Smiles), 2014, extends the subject’s expression into a metonymic commentary on portraiture itself, as Leeza’s uneven teeth are reproduced over a hundred times across a flat, gray expanse, with an effect reminiscent of Ezra Pound’s “apparition of these faces in the crowd.” In An Edge, 2014, Kim addresses the foundational color spectrum of different visual languages. Against a ground depicting half an orange with its dimpled stem facing the viewer, a vertical stripe divides six squares of color. On one side, these forms are filled with a painter’s primary yellow, blue, and red; on the other, a computer printer’s cyan, magenta, and yellow. The contrast is a reminder of the division between traditional techniques and those of our CMYK-saturated, digital culture. A return to the bodily need not be perilous.