New York

Michael Ashkin

Andrea Rosen Gallery

Michael Ashkin has always been attracted to wastelands. Since the early ’90s, he has evinced his unmistakable affection for dystopias in his signature works—tabletop models of stagnant waterways and desolate strips of interstate. This show was a departure into photography and video. The abject subject matter remained consistent, but the models’ dollhouse quirkiness has evolved into poetic or philosophical gravity, with mixed results. Both works exhibited here invoke the idea of the garden as an intentional landscape, a place of contemplation where the viewer can be engulfed by the sublime. Given his decidedly ungrandiose ecologies, Ashkin’s approach to this idea is not without irony. But neither is it derisive.

The concept of the sublime is introduced in Garden State, 2000, an artist’s book accompanied by a 1999 edition of twenty postcard-size photographs. Views of the New Jersey

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