Wednesday, May 20, 2015

two exhibitions about which I shall not write even a non-review, despite their intrinsic worthiness of one

These are exceptionally fragmentary notes about a couple of Atlanta exhibitions about which I have no idea how to write beyond this modest acknowledgement of their existence. I love both of them, but simply cannot get my head around the kind of analysis required by the positive review I would otherwise write. A non-review, in my definition, is something in which I blather on unsystematically about an entire exhibition, not about a single element of it.

Deedra Ludwig’s exhibition at Tew Galleries (through May 30) has sold well enough without benefit of critical commentary.

But how wonderful to know that there are paintings like Subtropicals or Solace, below replicated from cellphone photos, in which Ludwig has hand ground her own indigo pigment, incorporated bits of tropical flora into the paint, and otherwise produced artworks that simultaneously incorporate contemporary painting strategies (some gestural strokes put in an appearance that is more than perfunctory but that are allusions nevertheless—sort of the equivalent of quoting a phrase too well known to need cited acknowledgment) but also incorporate, literally, parts of the subject matter being represented.

There have been other cases in which actual botanical materials have been incorporated into botanically themed paintings, but Ludwig is uniquely committed to responding not just to the look but the entire composition of the land from which she derives both imagery and deep meaning.

It would be interesting, if I were up to the task, to discuss the implications of the two opposed yet complementary responses to nature in Ludwig's paintings and Amandine Drouet's representations of natural forms in sculptures created from discarded artificial materials. Both artists have a passionate commitment to the integrity of the planetary ecosystem, but find completely different modes of expression. Drouet's exhibition at Swan Coach House, coincidentally, closes the same day as Ludwig's, May 30.

Drouet's show includes her now-familiar sculptures starting from discarded plastic:

But there are also handbuilt lightboxes containing photographs based on her extraordinary sculptures woven from shredded buttled-water containers, and these illuminated images are more aesthetically seductive than the sculptures themselves:

It would be good if someone could offer a close and considered opinion of either or both exhibitions, but that someone will not be me.

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