New York

Erik Schmidt

Elizabeth Dee Gallery

As I write this review, the New York Times is featuring news of a Hamas cease-fire in Gaza, with Israel agreeing—provisionally—to withdraw its forces. Whether this will have come to pass by the time this magazine goes to press remains wholly unclear, but such events inevitably pressured readings of Berlin-based artist Erik Schmidt’s work, on view during the conflict in his first show at Elizabeth Dee, titled “As above is so below.” Consisting of one short video and a cohort of thickly encrusted paintings, the exhibition on first glance seemed to have nothing to do with politics. The paintings admit an almost culinary involvement with their materials; their surfaces are so densely and baroquely constituted as to infuse the gallery with the heady, just-finished smell of evaporating solvent and to occlude any imagistic content that such overwrought impasto might be producing (or, more likely,

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