May 6, 2013

Careful observation: Scars, skin and larger body parts

Edie Nadelhaft

Garis & Hahn, a self-styled Kunsthalle that opened earlier this year near the New Museum on the Bowery, recently presented breathtakingly well-observed work by  Gwen Hardie, Cynthia Lin and Diana Schmertz in an exhibition called "Borderline: Depictions of Skin." Here are a few images from the show.

Diana Schmertz paints detached hands and body parts. The paintings are particularly haunting after the Boston Marathon bombing. In the basement, Schmertz installed a project comprising wall paper printed with miniature paintings and small glass marbles, tiny paintings inside them, strewn about the floor.

Diana Schmertz.  


Gwen Hardie uses seductive old master technique to paint details of the body in a tondo format. For Hardie, skin serves as "a diaphanous membrane between the inner and outer world."


In Cynthia Lin’s large scale graphite and charcoal drawings (image above: Crop5aNBurn721, 2010, graphite on paper, 31 x 41 inches.), scabs and scars attest to traumas survived. At close range, the images seem to be drawn from pixelated digital reference, suggesting that Lin is also questioning the reality and remove created by our digital personae. 

The show is terrific, but I'd like to suggest one more artist working in an LES studio not far from the gallery, who might have been included: Edie Nadelhaft. Like the other artists in "Borderline," Nadelhaft has the startling, jaw dropping ability to observe carefully and at close range, although she herself thinks of the images as abstract. Work from Nadelhaft's ceramic series "Better Living Through Chemistry" is featured this month in "Femalenergy 3," a group show at Woodward Gallery on the Lower East Side. Image at top of post: Edie Nadelhaft,  Flesh Field No. 2, 2011, oil on canvas, 24  x 24 inches.


"Femalenergy 3," Artists include Susan Breen, Deborah Claxton, Vicki DaSilva, Natalie Edgar, Sabina Forbes II, Phyllis Gay Palmer, Sybil Gibson, Sonne Hernandez, Elisa Jensen, Luisa Mesa, Edie Nadelhaft,Klari Reis, Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk, Cristina Vergano, and Lucy Wilner.Woodward Gallery, Lower East Side, New York, NY. Through  June 30, 2013.

Borderline:  Depictions of Skin,” artists include Gwen Hardie, Cynthia Lin, Diana Schmertz. Garis & Hahn Gallery, Lower East Side, New York, NY. Through April 27, 2013. (Say hello to Ray for me.)

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