Caitlin Masley: Abandonment of the Solid
Lu Magnus, New York
November 17th, 2012 - February 17th, 2013
Caitlin Masley is an artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. Her recent solo exhibition Abandonment of the Solid was on view at Lu Magnus gallery in the Lower East Side from November 17th 2012 to February 17th, 2013. The site-specific installation included hanging sculpture, wall painting consisting of spray paint, acrylic and white-out, along with works on paper. The sculptural works that hung from the high gallery ceilings were made of black foam core, angular composites and geometric explosions of sharp, jagged edges somehow retained a naturalistic semblance. It was as if the forms were meant to be the way they were presented and no other form would have suited the installation. In speaking to the artist, she confirmed that ideally the sculptures were to be made of bronze. This would change not only the installation pretense but also the reaction garnered by visitors to the gallery or even open a dialogue within the public sphere. Imagining these forms in bronze immediately transposes a weight both literal and metaphorical to the overall presence of the sculpture. As foam core conglomerates, the shapes take on a lightness that lends itself to temporality, offering a direct correlation to the wall painting as well. The painting channels elements of urban architecture sliced by areas of high and low shadows. Artificial light is imagined to slice and visually divide the two-dimensional area, even venturing to the ceiling in angular bolts. It’s as if Masley paints an imaginary city that is imploding; contained, designed, yet with a wild unbridled energy in loose strokes and dripping gold spray paint sweeps. There is a linear quality and both the painting and the hanging sculptures together equal what could be interpreted as a spatially interactive drawing.
Lu Magnus is located on Hester Street, just a short walk from Canal Street and the ever-expanding Chinatown. The gallery is subterranean, with an impressive ceiling height that reaches to street level. The interior space was an ideal choice for Caitlin Masley’s Abandonment of the Solid. Rather than have a traditional program and exhibition routine, the team behind Lu Magnus chooses to function more as an art laboratory, allowing the selected artist to have more of a say within the project or body of work that is shown. As stated by gallery partner Amelia Abdullahsani, “Caitlin's installation is indicative of our programming. We encourage our artists to take over the space and utilize the gallery's unique architecture and incorporate into their installation. Our artists' practice traverse between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional. They are not confined to one medium nor one material. Their practice is interdisciplinary, multi-layered and transcends limitation.”
For Abandonment of the Solid Caitlin Masley worked with a team of interns and assistants who helped her paint the site-specific work over the course of ten days. From a distance, the painting seems to be a solid form and up close there are various strokes and marks that stand on their own to equal the larger whole. The concept is that what was solid is no longer; what was form is now disintegrating mass. Yet in the process of what might be the decomposition of recognizable form, a new structure is created without a name but a way of occupying space.
Katy Diamond Hamer is an art writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently contributing to Flash Art International, Sleek, NY Magazine, Whitehot Magazine and others. For more of her writing visit: http://www.eyes-towards-the-dove.com
Photograph by Takis Spyropoulos, 2012
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