Review: Tiffany Pollack, "Room"
The artist extols the highs and lows of parenthood.
Thu Jan 20 2011
Photographs: Courtesy Gasser Grunert
Easter Loves Mango
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5
In Tiffany Pollack's second solo show, baby care and flowers are subjects for dyed silk paintings in glorious washes of beautiful color. The former take shape as quasimodernist grids charting the waking/napping routine of the artist's infant. Given that mother-child relationships in contemporary art tend more toward the curdled Robert Melee variety, Pollack's approach is surprisingly anxiety-free.
Though the show includes eight such paintings, Pollack crystallizes the experience of all-encompassing emotional highs and lows in a single piece that registers periods of happiness followed by tears. Like Mierle Laderman Ukeles's memorable photos of her children's slow progress in getting dressed to go out during winter, Pollack's efforts will elicit groans of recognition, their wavy bands of color perfectly conveying the hazy disorientation of sleep deprivation.
Unlike Ukeles, however, or Catherine Opie's gender-bending self-portrait while nursing, Pollack's pretty colors and near-total lack of critical remove suggest that she's enjoying her new role. Coupled with an eye-popping series of flower paintings in which poppies explode against a hot pink ground, bleeding-heart flowers dangle gorgeous buds, and the gathered stems of calla lilies melt together in a downward rush of paint, Pollack revels in the pleasures of fertility. These works recall Charles Ray's much-lauded room of flowers at the last Whitney Biennial, though they leave hanging the question of whether highly personal exploration, beauty and, in Pollack's case, pure joy are enough on their own.
Gasser and Grunert, Inc., through Feb 12