I tried to visit Christian Marclay’s The Clock at Paula Cooper, but the line outside was longer than one found at a fashion week afterparty. Across the street, however, there was no line to get into Tanya Bonakdar gallery, which last week opened its first show with L.A. artist Liz Larner.
In at least three pieces here, Liz Larner collapses three dimensional structures into two dimensional fields. Supreme in its precise determination and constellatory outline, the vinyl print After Red Desert begins where two acute angles meet at the gallery’s floor and ends, after sheathing the walls, structural beams, and ceiling, where two acute angles meet overhead. Depending on the coordinates you occupy while moving around the gallery, the hard angles occasionally align, a visual phenomenon that tricks your binocular vision and seems to materialize a flat tower of mustard- and lavender-colored mist.
The visual alignment trick appears again in the Sol Lewitt/Jungle gym/Gumby- related sculpture, 6. Here, an impeccably crafted rectilinear skeletube box tangles with its wobbly, melted twin. The rigid meets the flaccid. Independent of the joinery at work, the paths of white, lavender, and tangerine meet in various spots. Again, depending on where you stand while looking at the sculpture, you can witness the alignment of these color meeting points, leaving you to complete the imaginary stripes zipping through, along, and around the “empty” space.
Finally, there is the floating bowtie, Planchette, which hovers just in front of the wall supporting it, and which, from a distance, looks flat. As you approach, the dark, matte surface opens up, revealing variegated pixels and concave receptivity. From the gallery’s press release: “In Planchette, a shimmering surface of dark blue on a gentle, undulating rectangular shape seems to float in front of the wall. The surface space is indeterminate from a distance much like a shot into fog with a telephoto lens.” Yes. The work conceals, reveals, and reconstitutes the space around it, bringing to mind its warped cousins, such as Richard Serra and Ricci Albenda.
The Liz Larner glossary:
transpicuous: transparent (“Birds can’t see transpicuous panes of glass.”)
brume: heavy mist or fog (“The BP spokesman unfurled a brume of blame and diversions.”)
alluvium: a deposit of sand, mud, etc., formed by flowing water. (“The man had plaque between his teeth like toxic alluvium along the Gulf of Mexico.”)
planchette: a small, heart-shaped board supported by two casters and a pencil or stylus that, when moved across a surface by the light, unguided pressure of the fingertips, is supposed to trace meaningful patterns or written messages revealing subconscious thoughts, psychic phenomena, clairvoyant messages, etc. (“My homemade planchette told me to flee in 2012.”)
P.S. London-based dealer Maureen Paley was at the gallery describing some upcoming show.