December 27, 2007

Mala Iqbal's radiant calamity at PPOW

"Mala Iqbal: Washed Away," P.P.O.W, New York, NY. Through January 5.

In The Village Voice, RC Baker's picks this week include Mala Iqbal's garishly vivid, Disneyesque landscapes. "Imagine Max Ernst's 'Europe After the Rain' (a corrosive 1942 painting conjuring the shattered landscape and psychological devastation of World War II) spray-bombed with Day-Glo colors—that will give you some idea of Iqbal's dazzlingly painted vistas. Or picture the Summer of Love four decades on, all its psychedelic energy and bubbly hope curdled by pollution, acid rain, and global warming. The title of the seven-foot-wide ' In Sight of Coconino' (2007)—which features a sky as livid as a lava flow, yellow mountains formed from blocky graffiti letters, and a lake of fluorescent acrylic drips—references the classic comic strip ' Krazy Kat;' perhaps Ignatz Mouse and Offissa Pupp will escape the coming storm in the little blue boat painted near the center of the canvas....But don't let Iqbal's drips, splatters, sprays, and brushy pyrotechnics fool you into thinking you're watching a Bob Ross landscape tutorial on LSD (rather than PBS); her techniques create canny compositions in which blurred contours serve as both animator's focus-pull and effusive abstraction. The warring moods—environmental armageddon? FEMA apocalypse? bootleg Disney?—feel just about right for our age of calamitous abundance." Read more.


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