Critics’ Picks

Will Rogan, Laced, 2013, wood, paint, book pages, 6 x 5 3/4 x 3 1/2".

New York

Will Rogan

Laurel Gitlen
122 Norfolk Street
September 8 - October 20

Will Rogan’s latest work does not stray far from the explorations of time’s passage that he has successfully displayed in previous exhibitions at Laurel Gitlen. Yet, the gallery’s new expanded space allows the artist to spread out and thus extends the viewing time, directing our pace to align with the meditative subjects of his work. Nowhere is this more evident than in a series of black-and-white photographs documenting a mural in Berkeley, California, that Rogan regularly bikes past. The mural depicts a familiar timeline: the human-driven progression from a barren landscape in The Beginning (all works 2013), where the bow of a boat makes a foreboding appearance, to a residential neighborhood crowded with cars, bicycles, and subways in The End. In contrast to the implied speed with which Rogan himself experiences this compressed rendering of time, our experience of the mural through these modestly sized images becomes fragmented, but still transporting. Rogan’s generic titles suggest that progress may have actually reached The End and that we exist in a perpetual Now (another scene celebrating industrial and cultural development).

Rogan’s agility in reimagining existing images continues with his graceful sculptural works. This attribute is presented quite literally in Laced, where interlocking pieces of wood faced with book pages of portraits give the impression of an endless rearrangement. More fetching are the larger works in which the space between two- and three-dimensional elements is contracted, such as in Black Shape, where a shard of black glass props up a book page to meet a printed black shape. Poignantly, Rogan takes his book pages from catalogues deaccessioned from an art school library, but leaves the artists on these pages unidentified. Whereas one could interpret this as an artist reinserting his predecessors into the public consciousness, the present interchangeability of their printed manifestations could also point to another of Rogan’s works as an inevitable fate: Shredit, a matter-of-fact photograph of a shredding company collection truck.