Opening Friday October 26th, 7 pm
Opening Friday October 26th, 7 pm
flipping birds and crushed oysters
like dreamland pools –
through a limelight of dismay
in the passage – deeply set
ever so slightly tectonic plates shift
long slow squeeze*
23 March – 22 April 2018
A thing that is cut short. A thing that carries on. A thing and a thing; a thing or a thing. A thing conjunct; a thing conjoined. Do they share a gauche line — the truncated, the amputated, the bent and warped — the infinite, the palimpsest, the overlaid and ricocheted? For what, in the end, is the responsibility of forms, if not to each other. A slow and then rapid shapeshift of one into the next. A tranche of concrete cylinder coated in corrugated white sits at the end of a large, pale puddle that is pockmarked with dark, uneven deposits: holes in this surface, or stains, or both. The puddle is solid, but it wants to ooze, its edges poised to creep forward at any moment should the opportunity for transfiguration arise. The slice of cylinder, or is it a wheel, shares the same pattern as its puddle, and even in stasis it pushes through space with the motion of similar surfaces. Did it enter from elsewhere, imprint the puddle, and stop here in trajectory? Or did the puddle excrete it, a sticky , lumbering birth.
In Abbreviated Extensions, V era Kox’s first solo show at Galleri Opdahl, objects are transitory and transformable; rooted and fixed; but liquid and moving, shimmering, collapsed, filthy , incandescent. Materials beg to be touched, with their subtle faces raised and textured, but insist on opacity and discrete surfaces — a calculated layer of strange stretched coolly over the familiar. A swathe of cerulean ceramic is held just above the floor by two blocks of foam, their edges discoloured by time or by light, or by whatever else pressed against them the hardest. The blue collapses gently under its own weight, its belly kissing close to the ground, the texture of its surface depressing to reveal the straight edges of the shapes beneath. The ineluctable pull of gravity and grace. Desire to touch this pool of blue, this smear of sky that scatters the mind — to dip a toe, and then plunge. Desire to run fingers through this neon streak of hair, which beckons elusively with its silky falseness. The stutter of impossibility, a sickness in the gut. Question after question, patiently superimposed. How is it that glass can seem so soft; and what happens through this green frame askew , with its foreground pierced by chains and a metal rod? What food is this, artificial and yet ripe for consumption — proffered on plinths, shrink-wrapped in cellophane and held so tenderly on glazed promontories?
Around these fallen objects, slumped and spilling, molten and solid — transient states — abbreviated extensions — where do the bodies go? Or need there be a body at all, to witness these mute and tensile complexes. These chains that hang — from the ceiling, from the walls — cut through the rooms, pushing emptiness with their swaying, striated forms. They press against the skin of the space, which is brimming with invisible, negative volumes: absence is endured, manipulated, produces new rhythms, structure and syntax. The language here, in Kox’s world of materials estranged and intimate, is one of accretion and entropy . A world — which is also our world — this world — the world — in which chains bind and link disparate matter, suspend and swing and conjure as many absent metonymies as they can bear.
— Emily LaBarge
February 16th – March 16th 2018
In this exhibition of Dickon Drurys recent paintings we find ourselves sheltering from the snow in the Home-Studio of an unseen artist. Clad with warmly coloured wooden paneling, the walls are home to a myriad of objects and images. Windows which are left ajar allow gusts of snow to occasionally blow in, forming a fragile connection between interior and exterior spaces.
In ‘Work-bench with Underwood’ a typewriter sits, loaded with a blank page, accompanied by blank note-books; an uneaten sandwich, and a still-burning cigarette. On the wall hangs various hand-tools and a print of ‘Hunters in the snow’ by Pieter Bruegel.
Meanwhile, in the boldly graphic and near-monochrome ‘Black Swan’ we encounter the death of a magnificent ornamental bird. Its red beak mirrors the wound in its chest. Black feathers burst outwards, mingling with snowflakes behind the falling animal.
Back inside the retreat we begin to understand that the swan’s death was an incident experienced by the Artist. In a number of interior paintings we see the maquettes she has made in response to this experience. Elegant coloured lumps balance precariously, while others are penetrated and skewered. Weight, balance and support play a key role in the maquette paintings, and gravity becomes a recurring theme throughout the exhibition. Shelves hold the weight of various plants, objects, small-sculptures and food stuffs. In ‘House of Cards’, the flimsy tower of images gives way. Cards flutter down to earth, echoing the falling feathers and snowflakes in ‘Black Swan’.
The tools used in the construction of the artist’s works are hung on nails in the walls, along with posters and postcards of inspirational paintings and sculptures. These images within the paintings skip through art history. From Michelangelo’s ‘Leda and the Swan’ through Bruegel, Munch, Matisse, Magritte and Moore. On one of the shelves in ‘Red Table with Maquettes’ we can see a winged-vase, evoking the work of British ceramicist Colin Pearson. After piecing together the dates of these art-works we might make a guess at the time period in which the narrative is based.
To try and understand the location, we look through windows and beyond a row of buildings, to glimpse a familiar pair of frozen lakes and a jagged mountain-range. In doing so, we realize that the studio we are holed-up in, is in fact located within the fictional town that Bruegels ‘Hunters in the snow’ are returning to.
Jala Wahid, Sebastian Jefford, Cecile B Evans, Nicholas Cheveldave, Natalie Dray, Andrew Mealor,
Ben Burgis & Ksenia Pedan, Victoria Adam, Sean Steadman
Organized by Rebecca Ackroyd
December 8th 2017 – January 14th 2018
Mirror falling from the Wall
Ten paintings of identical size equally divided by a horizontal line defining two rectangles: The format cut in separate pictorial fields with the canvas left unprimed, alternatingly above or below the horizontal line. Painted in heavy impasto on top of primed, raw and coloured grounds, words with reference to painting’s theoretical framework and physical presence are distributed. Next to concepts related to mythology and painterly problematics, various pigments and solvents, occasionally even number of staples used, are listed. This juxtaposition of generic technical information with poetic descriptions seem to destabilize dichtonomies based on form and content.
In his last show Originals Grisaille, Elgin presented emphatic repetitions of early modernist works next to grey-scale versions of the same. In the present show Mirror falling from the Wall this split image is played out in singular works evoking pre-modernist repetitive strategies. In Ovid’s Metamorphosis, particularly in the figure of Echo, transformation is frequently a consequence of repetition. In Mirror falling from the Wall, the repeated format with its linear division echoes the divided structure and exact measurements (110×92 cm) of Caravaggio’s Narcissus. Rather than continuing modernism’s critique of repetition, painting’s narcissistic self-obsession and auto-erotic character is played out here. Painting’s alleged self-absorption offers an unexpected visual encounter in the blind-zone of the mirror; repetition as a strategy for invention.
Dag Erik Elgin’s work is informed by an ongoing investigation into the history of painting, modernist ideals and contemporary visual culture. He is concerned with establishing a practice where the specific physical qualities of painting, historical analysis and personal production are constantly negotiated. Recent projects like Mirror falling from the Wall, Originals Grisaille and La Collection Moderne introduce text based works and repetitive strategies as catalysts for exploring modernism’s ongoing affair with current cultural and aesthetic representations. A parallel production of texts accompanies the visual investigations, e.g. “Preparing for Painting to Happen” in: Josef Albers: no tricks, no twinkling of the eyes -Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter König, Cologne 2014 and “p.p. Provenance Painted” in: Looters, Smugglers, and Collectors: Provenance
Research and the Market – Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne, 2015.
Recent exhibitions include e.g. The Armory Show, New York 2017, Originals Grisaille, OSL Contemporary 2016, Expanding Frontiers, Fondation Hippocréne, Paris 2016, In search of Matisse, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK) 2015 and Black Mountain-An interdisciplinary Experiment, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin 2015. Elgin was professor at Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Department of Fine Arts 2010- 2016. In 2014 he received the Carnegie Art Award.