Sat, Feb 05, 2011
‘Staccato’ is a visually striking exhibition in contrasting black and white featuring four artists who use thousands of distinctive marks to create arresting works. At den contemporary through March 5.
Staccato’ features graphite drawings by Los Angeles-based artists Jennifer Celio, Haikuhie Tataryan, and Christine Weir, and mixed media sculptural installation by New York-based artist Julia Westerbeke.
The artists utilize an unorthodox approach to “drawing.” Rather than using extended lines or broad strokes and curves, their technique is more physically demanding with minute mark-making to create the imagery. With their own take on the use of “line,” the movement is more disciplined, the energy abbreviated and repetitive instead of the extended push/pull of the pencil and pen. The artists embrace the challenge of the process and shift the viewer’s perspective of scale with their visually complex work.
Jennifer Celio renders imagined landscapes tapering off into fields of pure white to depict urban deterioration and renewal. With multitudes of tiny pencil lines, the work portrays a sad beauty in the evolution of the suburbs and focuses the viewer’s attention on some aspect of the city that is often overlooked.
Haikuhie Tataryan’s graphically compelling work depicts elaborate narratives of realistically executed subjects, addressing a combination of current events, political issues, and the artist’s personal concerns with them. Her technical use of dense cross-hatching in the imagery pushes the drawings toward the richness of an etching.
Christine Weir confronts her fear of flying in her mysterious-looking aerial view drawings of actual aqueduct and reservoir patterns with haphazard lines and branching networks. The seemingly abstract compositions become silhouettes in a nocturnal atmosphere of velvety graphite, balanced by perfectly shaped circular rings glowing in the background.
In sculptures and drawing-based installations, Julia Westerbeke creates otherwordly terrains in forms familiar yet curiously alien, toxic yet appealing. A closer observation of the individual forms reveals the finely detailed work, which pays homage to the intricacies and ceaseless regeneration of natural forms.