There were a few works that incorporated text and narrative mixed with illustrative depictions. Whether the image follows the text or vice versa is relative. There were cartoonish comic book elements mixed with high modernist styles and superbly drafted figures. In some there was a disconnect between the two factors, in others a perfect union.
Paule Hammer at Laden Fuer Nichts Gallery, Germany (Volta)
Labeled anatomy plus chakras, short stunted man in mountain pose with streams of text flowing around him written in German and English. It is revealing one individual’s physical compartments as well as spiritual elements and stream of consciousness. It’s dark and serene, jarring and soothing at the same time.
David Kramer at Aeroplastics, Belgium (Volta)
A staple Pierogi artist based in good ol’ Williamsburg. I love the self-deprecating mockery and irony. Love the watercolor illustration accomodating the text, some of them are hefty and heavy with depression and failure.
Kenny Scharf at Paul Kasmin, NY (Armory)
I’m not a big fan of Kenny Scharf, the whole booth was infested with bubble gum colors and stenciled commodities like tires and words like FUN. It’s a dizzying but both image and text in these canvases work hand in hand to successfully overload the viewer with saturated imagery whilst simultaneously forcing us to read what texts are lying underneath the squiggly critters. Overwhelming and a bit to tacky for my tastes.
Fia Backstrom at Wilkinson Gallery, London (Armory)
Bacstrom is a multi-disciplinary artist and I’m never quite able to capture the essence of her work because it is so plural. This work shown above is similar to some other works in that it incorporates text and branding to create a pattern, a poetic visual that recontextualizes the known and familiar. She performed last week at Jack Hanley and I missed it! Did anyone catch it? What was it about?
John Strutton at Domo Baal, London (Volta)
A jam packed booth with all sorts of ephemera. Watercolors on canvas, paper, and drum skins, painted guitars are also included. Bruce Nauman-ish in use of images to depict phrases and aphorisms. It was too crowded for me to focus on any particular one.
Helguera at Glowlab, NY (Fountain)
Found image cut into geometric shapes with quote on bottom that reads “He begged with tears in his eyes.” Leaves us to question more, ponder the concepts behind each section, but don’t think too hard, it’s ambivalent for a reason.
Mel Bochner at Two Palms, NY (Armory)
Your staple Mel Bochner paintings, text made with fabric splattered on top of abstract watercolor wash.
David Shrigley at Anton Kern, NY (Armory)
Mock-irony-humorous gestures. I think of Jim Torok immediately.
David Kesting at Glowlab, NY (Fountain)
This is me cooking for you.
Nedko Solakov at Galleria Continua, Italy (Armory)
I’ve been a fan of Nedko Solkavo’s sweet innocent storytelling narratives, with subversions of violence and suffering that will need a second glance to notice. He usually works in ink as a series of multiple illustrations, minimal with little detail or emphasize, just a suggestion of a figure here, or a bug there, an atmosphere thrown in to demonstrate the story.
Juan Francisco Casas at Fernando Pradilla, Madrid (Scope)
Tasteless and vulgar photorealism. Nifty part is that all these large scale drawings are sketched with a blue bic pen. Tattoo text appropriated onto skin, inappropriate.
Dominic McGill at Derek Eller, NY (Armory)
Remember at P.S. 1 that huge scroll that loop in and around itself and was full of texts and phrases pertaining to history and politics? That was Dominic McGill. Here he mixes graphite text and imagery with colored mountainscape. The cascading, layering, accumulating, and spilling of words and images are enough to give you a seizure with all the zig zagging and reading and consuming. I love it.
Francois Ilnsehr at Vagabond Gallery, NY (Fountain)
This is a great project for all the grade school teachers out there. Creating dada-esque collages out of the alphabet. It automatically leads into a series and the variety is boundless. Here the letters float and gleam through real environments, and neither really represent or speak for each other. But I like the multiplicity and awkward placement of them all.
Pepperstein Pavel at Regina Gallery, Moscow (Armory)
Gandalf teaching Frodo the magic powers of Abstraction.
William Pope L. at Mitchell Innes & Nash, NY (Armory)
The friendlist black artist in America is at it again attacking racist attacks in the most perverse coarse and crude manner possible. It’s decrepit seediness in form, marker on graph paper, compliments the text too well.
Erik Foss at Shooting Gallery, CA (Scope)
Ode to Jasper Johns except instead of newspaper, they are homeless signs bought and painted over. And those are unused condoms, I asked.