At Transmitter, a group show titled “Photo II” ran the gamut of photographic practices, from bizarre portraiture and still life to architectural abstraction.
The work of Erin O’Keefe was immediately arresting for its bold color and solid form. After the initial read, however, the status of the work as a photograph quickly came into question. With unreliable space, gradients, and shadows that seem too sharp, these images reveled in their ambiguous status, blurring the distinction between documenting real space and creating an artificial image.
Showing off an equally bold sense of form, the photographs of Eli Durst explored a deadpan surrealism that thrived in the harsh contrasts of black and white. A particularly striking image casts an apple against the reflective light of a table. The sharp and exaggerated shadow becomes a tangible form as the table fades into a blurred white. With a minimum of manipulation and by simply harnessing the textures of things, Durst’s photographs become a light show of the weird mis-recognitions in the act of seeing, of visions that refuse to relay and stay stubbornly inert.
Irina Rozovsky’s work shared the high key visual intensity of O’Keefe’s images as well as the surreality of Durst’s photos, contrasting the austere composure of those artists with a fragile vibrancy of broken, complex things. As a result, her photos felt more documentary in nature, less focused on the artifice of the photographic eye than the makeshift enigmas found in the world.
At Schema Projects, “Archetypewriters” was a group show organized by ROE Projects, focusing on small drawings that used systems and patterns and suggested a kinship with writing. As a bonus, most artists also shared a love of vibrant color.
The drawings were tightly hung along eye level, with dozens of works by the eight featured artists. All of the pieces were engrossing, whether for the simple visual power of neon markers, the precision of a lace-work pattern, or the indecipherable rules that set a given work in motion. For this visual eclecticism, “Archetypewriters” managed to be one of the most visually impressive shows we had seen in Bushwick in a long while.
Finally, we visited Sardine gallery, where “Process +/- Pattern” put five artists together along the theme of process and pattern. In contrast to “Archetypewriters” and “Photo II,” this show featured work that did not immediately speak in unison, and varied considerably in medium and approach.
A video display of a self-erasing page of the Old Testament by Willum Geerts sat alongside a pattern drawing and paintings by Keigo Takahashi and Shane Drinkwater. A Tatlin-esque wall sculpture by Karen Tepaz was hung next to a woven work by Heidi Hankaniemi. The broad themes of the show invited this extreme variety; and while “Process +/- Pattern” proved less focused than the two earlier shows, it was a welcome abandon of their principled approach to medium. The focus was instead what these objects shared despite their disparity – a commitment by each artwork to be what it was, whether followed through by the rule of pattern or discovered in the process along the way.