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March 2008, Kim Gordon at KS Art, NY


  Kim Gordon, untitled, 2008, watercolor on paper
 12 7/8 x 9 1/2 in, 32.7 x 24.1 cm
 courtesy Kerry Schuss Art

Kim Gordon
Come Across
Kerry Schuss Art
March 8 through April 9, 2008

Kim Gordon has made around twenty to thirty small watercolors for her exhibition in Tribeca which opened on Saturday March 8th at KS Art on Leonard Street. The exhibition also features an ambient sound piece, on which she collaborated with her husband and band mate Thurston Moore, that permeates throughout the gallery, and two off-white shag-rugs situated on the varnished wooden floor. The watercolours are painted on rice paper; some framed and leaning against wall-wedges, while others are hung, unframed, directly on the wall. They appear at first to be blobby abstractions when looking at them in close proximity at the gallery's entrance; however, the floating blobs morph into ghostly, ethereal portraits when examining them at a distance. The works hold a delicate tension between abstraction and figuration, with compositions consisting of bleeding layers of pinks, greens, blacks and gently reflective grays. Examining the works closer reveals glitter-like specks sparkling in the bright overhead lighting. The effect of the small paintings is mildly disorienting, bordering on psychedelic.


 Kim Gordon, untitled, 2008, watercolor on paper
 12 7/8 x 9 1/2 in, 32.7 x 24.1 cm
 courtesy Kerry Schuss Art

Gordon states in the press release that she is interested in the relationship between performer and audience. Standing in the centre of the room, surrounded by the washy portraits, the effect of performing for a surrounding audience is not a far cry; especially considering Gordon and her career in Sonic Youth with the years of blurry spectators, ghostly faces, which must float in and out of her memory. The faces appear to be watching you, or perhaps beyond you. They come out of and drift back into a blur, on the cusp of recognition. Gordon who has spent a great deal of her life on stage with countless faces looking at her, has made an exhibition of faces which look at us as the music she and Moore composed drones on. The title of this exhibition Come Across, might serve as a direction to viewers to cross the threshold of the space as spectator to that of the performer by coming across that line which Gordon occupies as a performer. The watercolours start to behave like the landscape of an audience and reverses the effect of being a spectator, producing a situation where we, the spectator are now surrounded by the image of hollow, gazing faces.


 Kim Gordon, untitled, 2008, watercolor on paper
 12 7/8 x 9 1/2 in, 32.7 x 24.1 cm
 courtesy Kerry Schuss Art

The glitter on the portraits and metallic paint suggest a reflection of sorts. The sound element evokes the possible repetition of live music, performing it again and again, night after night, while the shag rugs become like the rugs we’ve seen countless musicians standing on while performing. By entering this space of exhibition, we have, in some metaphorical sense, come across into a performative space where we can at least consider the role of the performer and question our own role as the spectator.

Chris Kasper

 

Chris Kasper is an artist/teacher/writer living in New York City. 
He holds an MFA from the School of Art at Yale University and completed the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2006.

ckasper13@yahoo.com

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