Critics’ Picks

Lin May Saeed, Lioness Relief, 2015, Styrofoam, paint, wood, 23 x 33 x 7".

Lin May Saeed, Lioness Relief, 2015, Styrofoam, paint, wood, 23 x 33 x 7".

New York

“The World Without Us”

Brennan & Griffin
122 Norfolk Street
July 27–August 25, 2017

If you’ve been at all conscious since the start of this dreadful year and never once wished for Armageddon, you probably shouldn’t be trusted. “The World Without Us,” the darkly suggestive title of this group exhibition, casts the assembled works as detritus from a civilization—ours, of course—gone to hell. This is not a negative assessment of the pieces on view, but rather a testament to the misanthropically groovy black energy they radiate as a whole.

Upon entering the space you notice Lin May Saeed’s fabulous Lioness Relief, 2015, a Styrofoam and wood sculpture of the titular creature wading through a body of water, maybe in the jungle. It’s such a lonely and desperate-looking thing, both the artwork and the cat. Painted in an array of Midwestern dialysis clinic blues, browns, and greens, it makes one think of a display for a natural history museum culled from a destroyed future, built from trash and a vague memory of a PBS wildlife special. Flanking this work are TM Davy’s trio of crayon-and-watercolor phantom stallions (all to be titled, 2017) and Akira Ikezoe’s marvelously sick oil painting Coconut Heads-Happy Go Lucky, 2017, a hieroglyphic arrangement of emaciated humans—one of the few representations of actual people in the show—shitting, fucking, and torturing one another, among other activities.

On the opposite wall is Jeni Spota C.’s Spaghetti Poodle (Pink) and Spaghetti Poodle (Blue), both 2017, a painterly pair of cheery but creepy dog pictures that could’ve been salvaged from a 1950s bomb shelter, and Trevor Shimizu’s canvas of a cold-comfort transitional object in soiled-panty pink, Nordstrom’s Bear, 2016. Close to the gallery’s entrance is Karen Heagle’s painting of four doom-ready carrion birds, Untitled (Vultures Scrying), 2017. One has its wings outstretched against a field of gold leaf—a flash of tomorrow’s landscape, perhaps, shimmering and dead.