When Roberta and I were visiting the January small group show at Tiger Strikes Asteroid (can there be anything but a small group show in that tiny space?), gallery member Nathan Pankratz mentioned to us that the gallery might move to a larger space. That’s welcome news, especially since this small artist-run space continues to mount good shows. The January show, up to the 29th, includes work from Corey Antis, Ben Pranger, Donna Ruff, Adam Parker Smith, and Hunter Stabler.
Smith, who moved from Philly to Brooklyn and shows at Priska Juschka, is making collages here, a major change from the stuffed dolls. I especially loved the sexy body parts that add up to the piece named Salami.
Stabler’s cut paper has gone 3-D fabulous and soon I expect him to be cutting paper in the fifth dimension and the size of the head of a pin!
Pranger and Ruff are exciting new finds.
Ruff’s grid of drawings not much bigger than Post-its are burned into gold-backed paper. The gold sneaks up with a glow from behind, lending a magical elegance to an object that is at once lacy, vulnerable and hard core. The imagery, which has an Astrid Bowlby-like obsessiveness, merges a mysterious symbolic or scientific code with a topographical mapping of the cosmos, while the repetitive hole-burning seems like a sort of religious devotion, a scarification of the paper. The gallery notes state that Ruff is inspired by Islamic and Afghani art.
Pranger, a Pollock-Krasner grant winner, offered work that looks like giant Tinkertoy constructions made of found chunks of wood. What interests me is the use of Braille in it, a language for people who can’t see, in an art gallery where the blind would probably not go. But the clunky, DIY charm of the forms and the incomprehensibility of the encoded language created something mysterious, a sort of puzzle, endearingly awkward and inarticulate. The one piece with the words in a standard alphabet–a Biblical quote–I found less intriguing.
Also in the show is Vox Populi member Corey Antis, whose paintings are more like drawings in their spareness. He is the only artist in the show not playing with language’s inability to communicate. And religion, another show theme, is a stretch, unless martyrdom counts: Antis paints empty spaces, empty rooms that are challenges to enter and challenges to stay in. I suspect that’s his point. In Cold Room the horizonal lines look like heating elements. Ouch!