Monday, May 25, 2009

Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 534 West 26 street Jessica Stockholder May 7-June 20

Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Jessica Stockholder is a highly respected artist who's been showing for a long time, and I've seen a lot of her work over the years. I have to admit that I don't fully understand what she's doing or know if I even like it, but there's something about her that I think is interesting. Maybe it's that she's hard to really define. I usually hear her referred to as a sculptor, although I imagine sculpture purists would dispute that. She's also called an installation artist, although the spontaneous, haphazard appearance of her work really challenges the tradition of that medium. In fact her choice of materials and the way she combines them seems kind of silly, and even arbitrary. They don't appear to have any relationship to one another either formally or thematically. That kind of sloppy intuitiveness is a quality you see more often in painting than in sculpture or installation art. In fact some of the work does have big strokes of paint on it, though you'd really be pushing it to call her a painter. But, her work isn't just challenging to tradition, or catagoration. The objects and the way they're put together are about as disharmonious as any art I've seen. While I can't figure out what she's aiming for, I have to admit that her total disregard for aesthetics is pretty impressive.

1 comment:

  1. So you like her work because it is ugly? Interesting. Currently she has a large installation / sculpture in Madison Square park, You can see how she works in large scale. What I like about her work there is the way she flattened the environment and treated it more like painting. I agree with your take on her in that she is more of painter who happens to work with objects and physical space.