A look at artists as an interdependent niche.
Fri Jan 7 2011
Photograph: Courtesy of Sara Meltzer Gallery
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
Effervescence and flow distinguish this solid group exhibition, featuring paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures by 17 artists who are mostly under 40. The show's title alludes to a community of interdependent organisms occupying an ecological niche, which translates here as a group of art-world denizens interconnected by friendships, romantic attachments and professional affiliations.
Thanks to a skillful installation by curators Ariel Dill and Denise Kupferschmidt (who also contribute excellent pieces), disparate works settle into profitable coexistence. Lush color is a major connecting thread, from the orange and mango tones in Gina Beavers's painting of a rubbery female nude (copied from one seen in an episode of Bad Girls Club) to the sea-urchin purples and slate grays in Carla Edwards's wall hanging, pieced together from overdyed American flags.
The play of two and three dimensions is another recurring motif, found in Talia Chetrit's photograms of something that looks like a glass vase; Christian Sampson's funky take on California Light and Space sculpture, which casts a rippling turquoise shadow down one wall; and Joshua Kolbo's surprisingly authoritative photo sculpture, made from two big overlapping C-prints, rolling off the wall onto the floor.
Traces of art-historical DNA abound, notably in Mamie Tinkler's delicate dry-brush watercolor of two Oriental carpets that recalls Walter Tandy Murch's mysterious still lifes of clocks and machine parts from the 1940s and '50s, and Leigh Ruple's spectacularly colored and feminized update of Indian Space painting from the same period.
On the evidence of this exhibition, a tough new art is evolving on the cultural peripheries, adapting to harsh conditions and appropriating and altering freely as it goes. It might just outlast the flashier forms around it.
Sara Meltzer Gallery, through Sat 15