c/o – Gerhardsen Gerner is very pleased to announce its fourth solo exhibition with the American artist Amy Adler.
Amy Adler presents a new series of delicate pastels on paper, each of which shows an extreme close-up of a young girl’s face. Each sheet is horizontally oriented and only slightly varied, with a strict, monochromatic color selection. A common motif in Adler's work is adolescence, and here the artist furthers her exploration of the sensitive atmosphere of childhood.
Adler creates the close-ups with a rough, graphic execution of the line. The lines used to fill in the shapes are handled with an almost sketch-like quality and, along with the build-up of light and shadow, form the features of the face, yet without exaggerating any details. Since older times, pastels have been used for sketching and have been considered special because of their luminous color pigments—in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the medium celebrated great success in portrait art.
Amy Adler breaks with technical inheritance. Since the 1990s, along the lines of Appropriation Art, the artist has worked with processes of translation: from photography into drawing and back into photography. The product, a photograph of a drawing of a photograph, is the original. All preceding parts, including the sketches, effectively side-products, are destroyed. This production process expands the terms “authenticity” and “original” and places them into question.
Since 2006, the drawings have found an entry into Amy Adler’s work. In her new works on paper, Adler uses her own film stills for the first time as material for original drawings. With the medium of film as starting point, the artist has added a new layer to her multifarious working process. The pastel works, entitled “Runaway” (2010) depict a young actress who played the role of a runaway girl in a recent short film by Adler. Consequently, each single work is a snapshot separated from an abundance of animated images. This presents a kind of inversion in the artist's work: now the technical medium serves as the basis for the hand-drawn originals rather than for a reproduction—but the original becomes, at the same time, a reproduction.
Through an extremely zoomed-in effect, the camera´s eye puts the visitor in an almost intimate closeness with the young actress. Indeed, with the close-up situation and linear style a level of abstraction presents itself. Yet, the camera´s glance seems to internalize the face of the model and to want to inscribe itself in it.
In her work, Alder allows for the distance between the viewer and the model to be nearly annihilated. We come close to the girl, so close that a kind of uneasiness is triggered.Amy Adler currently lives in Los Angeles and is Associate Professor of Visual Art at the University of California San Diego. She has had one person shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and The Aspen Art Museum. Amy Adler´s work is included in several permanent collections including the Deste Foundation, Athens, The Broad Foundation, Los Angeles and The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles.