Art Openings: PAPERAZZI & sys(x)tem

PAPERAZZI at the Janet Kurnatowski Gallery // 205 Norman Avenue

PAPERAZZI, which runs from now until February 12th, features a wide range of artists all offering works on paper.  With that general theme providing what appears to be the only direction for the show, the pieces exhibited a dramatic range of styles. Weaving through a dense and lively opening night crowd, a few of these pieces caught my eye.  The first, Peter Fox‘s Untitled, used both the interwoven yet unmixed colors and thick textures of acrylic paint to create a piece whose abstraction extends both across and out from the board.  Caroline McAuliffe used paper in a much different way with The Script Series, a collection of cards made from rougher stock featuring short messages stitched in red thread that speak to the doubt and insecurity of interpersonal relationships.  I couldn’t decide whether Eric Holzman‘s Sunrise seemed to me more of a landscape or starscape; his style packs a great deal of emotion into a very few colors spread across unclear forms, and the title implies a little of both.  In addition to the described, there are at over one hundred more pieces to explore.

sys(x)tem at Splatterpool // 138 Bayard Street

Sys(x)tem, which runs until February 5th, is a collection of work from artists who seek to deconstruct and question the systems with which we interact.  In this context, ‘system’ is very broadly defined; in one work, Future Archaeology’s moc.elgooG, the system in question is the data aggregation network whose name is increasingly used as a verb to describe the very process of looking up information.  The work itself is nebulously located on a wifi network within the gallery; visitors interact with it via a computer terminal hooked up to projector whose light dominates the space.  Far more physical is my favorite piece of the evening, Tie-Die by Israeli artist Shay Arick.  His instructions for recreating the piece in the comfort of your own home are as follows:

Place a bleach container on a shelf.
Make a small hole in the bleach container:
Black
Transparent acid drops
on the cotton fabric
Red
Ball of fire
Yellow
Annihilation
Reflections

Arick’s work physically separates the very pigments from the fabric of the shirts folded neatly on the gallery floor, sending this color streaming slowly out from the stack and leaving behind “Red/Ball of fire/ Yellow” hues in a unique and changing pattern on the fabric.  My only critique is of his radical redefinition of bleach as an acid, but while we’re taking on the systems that define modern life, why stop short of chemistry?

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