Jonathan VanDyke, "The Hole in the Palm of Your Hand"
Tue Sep 22 2009
Exhibition view: The Disappearing Core (left) and Asymmetrical Relationship
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
The five sculptures in Jonathan VanDyke’s show look like tastefully funky constructions, until one notices that each slowly and continuously oozes multicolored paint. For example, Asymmetrical Relationship, which is shaped like a large, irregular capital i, is covered in woven strips of black webbing like a Rissom side chair. Two white cast-plastic pipes poke through the webbing at the top and drip liquid pigment down the work’s surface to form psychedelic puddles on the floor, which the artist has tiled, bricklike, with pieces of Masonite. Rows of hanging aluminum ball-chains fill The Disappearing Core, a tall, upright cedar box, open at front and back. Paint almost imperceptibly slides down some of the innermost chains, coagulating and crusting over before vanishing into the box’s perforated base.
VanDyke’s forms recall Minimalist sculpture of the 1960s (as well as MoMA-approved design), while the dripping paint conjures Jackson Pollock and his post-Minimalist heirs, such as Lynda Benglis. Yet by drooling viscous goop from orifices, these works also invoke the body’s fluids and messy secretions.
The conditions that the artist has set up will, over the course of the exhibition, create colorful chaos—a kind of beautiful entropy—but they also uncomfortably evoke corporeal putrescence. A single photograph of a hand in a latex glove, the tips of its fingers filling up with paint, suggests as much. Titled The Hole in the Palm of Your Hand, it manages to awkwardly equate painting with the stigma of both masturbatory effluvium and religious ecstasy.—Joseph R. Wolin