New York

Luke Stettner, Calendar Page (Lydia Ausstein), 2019, found paper mounted on museum board, 11 3⁄4 × 14".

Luke Stettner

Kate Werble Gallery

Rich in damaged detail, formally austere, and affecting in often unpredictable ways, Luke Stettner’s exhibition at Kate Werble Gallery demonstrated both the potential and the limitations of language as a conjurer of personal and historical memory. The show’s stuttering title, “ri ve rr hy me sw it hb lo od,” sent an oblique signal about its organizing principles: incompleteness, misprision, false starts, and missed connections. Perhaps best seen as a kind of fraught, makeshift whole rather than a series of discrete works, the project argued that obliqueness should be understood as the default condition of all expression, whether linguistic or visual. It was densely packed yet surprisingly elusive, full of gaps via which the artist and his subjects continually slipped away.

At the heart of Stettner’s enterprise was a family story of survival and horror, namely, the different fates of his

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