Critics’ Picks

Luther Price, Light Fracture Backwash, 2015, 35mm slides, acrylic paint and varnish on canvas, 24 x 24".

Luther Price, Light Fracture Backwash, 2015, 35mm slides, acrylic paint and varnish on canvas, 24 x 24".

New York

Luther Price

Callicoon Fine Arts
49 Delancey Street
September 17–October 31, 2015

In the 1980s, he traveled to Nicaragua to make work with a group of artists. The accident happened so quickly, the bullet piercing the skin in advance of reflex. One photograph foregrounds this accident in his latest exhibition: We see Luther Price in a hospital bed. We see the wound. This image inscribes itself in light on the surface. We see the lesion travelling from subject to object, one formally opening onto the other through the now-thirty-year-old puncture in the photograph.

The wound appears on 16-mm film, on 35-mm slides. With each press of the celluloid, each splice of the film, and each strip of the collage, the hurt is transposed to surface, as icon and index. It is made effigy, dressed in paper, resin, and plaster cast; buried in the dirt and hollowed out. It’s a repeated injury, and in each piece (slideshows of found footage, collages of meat, a collection of film, and slides with accreted matter) there are cuts, rot, and bits of celluloid. Price applies salt, soil, and, recently, sugar to the celluloid surfaces, facilitating decay with an organic kind of care—so that the fecundity or preservatives of one might rub up against the blight of the other.

Despite this attentiveness to treatment, despite the fastidious detail, the process only accelerates a breakdown. What is the meaning of flesh repeatedly incised, a wound made manifest? That the body of work might envelop the body in the incident, that the former might become bigger than the latter. With the repetition of images and action, with the accumulation of matter, we are able to feel, hear, and make sensate the structure of abjection: dirty, pretty, mortal things.