Friday, March 5, 2010

Armory week, day 2. Volta, Pulse, Verge.

Feet still aching from 6 hours at the piers yesterday, I slogged back into the belly of the beast, face still black with art soot. Today's art-coalmine schedule would start with Volta, the sister-by-marriage of the Armory Show. Volta, as many of you know, has a solo show philosophy; one artist per booth. This makes for an artist friendly atmosphere, and definitely ramps up the focus on which artist the gallery chooses from their roster. I usually enjoy Volta as an experience, but find it wanting in the art satisfaction department. This year was no different. I find I am usually somewhat in the minority opinion when I poll my art friends about Volta. Again, this year was no different. Many voices I trust found this to be a satisfying, nourishing fair, so take my view with the shaker of salt it deserves.

The day as a whole yielded very little in the way of photography I felt compelled to include here. My favorite of this fair (though not without reservations) was Svätopluk Mikyta at Emannuel Walderdorff Galerie. Mr. Mikyta takes photos from found sources like yearbooks and catalogs then modifies and transforms them with various overlaying techniques. Like David Maljkovic, who I mentioned yesterday, this artist references memory (or the fading thereof) in a distinctly eastern european accent. The artist professes no political bent to the work, but it's hard for me to see them without projecting a Stalin-era veneer on those faces. I will be eager to follow this artist's career. Worth a look.
 Also worth a look were Roberto Pellegrinuzzi's layered photo-based works at Pierre-François Ouelette Fine Art.  Though I wish this artist would embrace a subject more suited to his layering process than landscapes, I find the work visually stimulating, and I enjoy its tension between obliterated abstraction and simple representation. The work is complex to reproduce, so it's best seen on the gallery's website.

On to Pulse Fair. Baer-Ridgway, who rarely disappoint, had photo collage work from Brion Nuda Rosch. Though they strongly recalled John Stezaker in many ways, the best examples held their own. 

My favorite photo-based work at Pulse was by Sam Messenger at Davidson Contemporary.
I loved how the artist has crammed imagery into a space but made it inaccessible in every way except as a promise. This promise would only be important to collectors and galleries which fires this wonderful tension between the images we'll never see and his promise of uniqueness and exclusivity. Great. (Click on the photos to enlarge.)

There were some other galleries at Volta showing photography, but I think you've heard me comment on them before or you've seen them yourself. The same cannot be said of Verge Fair. I have never commented in this blog on anything I saw there, and I suspect you've never seen any of the work on display. This is as it should be. That's all I'll say on the subject. Attend at your own peril.

Tomorrow: ADAA, Independent, and Scope.

No comments:

Post a Comment