Critics’ Picks

Marie Lorenz, Capsize, 2009, still from a color video, 7 minutes.

Marie Lorenz, Capsize, 2009, still from a color video, 7 minutes.

New York

Marie Lorenz

Jack Hanley Gallery
327 Broome Street
January 2–January 31, 2010

The mythic narratives pullulating from Marie Lorenz’s ongoing project The Tide and Current Taxi are chillingly evinced in Capsize, 2009, a video at the heart of her first solo exhibition in New York. Lorenz launched the “taxi” in 2005, ferrying passengers around New York City’s waterways in a small, homemade plywood boat. During its fabled first voyage, the vessel sank in the East River, leaving the artist and her passenger to swim to shore. Her latest video, made while Lorenz was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome, begins in media res, with the artist already in the water after a boat has capsized. Impressively, she recorded the event while holding a camera in her mouth for a riveting seven minutes. It’s hard to discern whether she’s navigating toward or away from the boat––but that point seems moot anyway, as incandescent washes of blue and green produce entrancing, lithe abstractions, diluting her heavy panting.

The remains of that vessel (a few broken slabs of wood) are rendered in a large rubbing and are accompanied by several other works on paper that recall the dizzying effect of the video. A few graphic rubbings of whirlpools were created on wood Lorenz later used to construct another boat that is installed, perhaps too obviously, in the middle of the gallery, while four collographs made with flattened toy boats suggest tropes of entropy and reduction. That Lorenz’s deeply romantic project embraces failure and risk, and acknowledges these as essential components of romanticism itself, is reason enough to follow her wherever the waters might take her.