“Depth Perception” presents the work of nine contemporary artists toying reflexively with the formal, perceptual, and psychological properties of pictorial depth and layering. In the process, these artists demonstrate an interest in allusive abstraction and/or poetic interactions among abstract form and representational imagery. Though diverse in medium and approach, the works are consistently seductive and open-ended, seeking a life beyond themselves in the self-consciously subjective responses they elicit.
Nicole Cohen’s collages meddle with the familiar codes of magazine illustration and advertisement, punching hermeneutic holes through representational space with abstract interventions that open up potent seams of psychological interference. Cohen will also show a new video that probes the perceptual dimensions of domestic space and personal taste. • The layered compositions of Claire Ellen Corey’s paintings weave disparate abstract and referential material into dense, digitally manipulated surfaces that marry painterly gesture to electronic media. Corey’s work for this show, Cove, 2009, subtly alludes to Monet’s Water Lilies—awhirl in an elegant tangle of color and form. • Thomas Eller’s three-dimensional assemblages provide compressed, visual corollaries to perceptual crises, in this instance: the moment immediately preceding a car crash, rendered as an explosive fragmentation of frame and image. • Cliff Evans produces socially-charged animations that zoom in and out of shifting pictorial and perspectival space, mercilessly tweaking media spin as they go. Taking the American flag as it’s starting point, Evans’s work here skewers visual jingoism in a narrative vortex of terminal consumerism • The lushly fecund ink-on-paper abstractions of Roland Flexner, examples of which are currently on view at the Whitney Biennial, bristle with evocative detail and incident, suggesting baroque landscape painting or romantic fantasy illustration. Departing from his usual black-and-white palette, Flexner has made two exquisite, blue-tinted works for the exhibition. • Through a chain of slow dissolves, Jeff Gibson’s video, Smoke, 2010, making its debut here, combines contrasting imagery, quack psychological text, and evocative sound (courtesy Kiley Gaffney) to reflect upon visceral and cerebral process. Gibson will also exhibit two pieces from his “Sarsaparilla to Sorcery” series, which juxtapose abstract photographs with consonant illustrations from old encyclopedia, each taking on the perceptual characteristics of the other. • The depth perception of Geoff Kleem’s contribution—The Good Forest, 2010, an MDF-mounted, propped, and tilted stereoscopic image with silhouetted object—is corrected via 3-D glasses, playfully enacting spatial and perceptual conundra inherent to image/object relations. • Susanna Starr’s brilliantly colored, layered repetitions of distorted decorative forms—represented here by Under the Influence, 2009—announce themselves as image, abstraction, and object all at once, suggesting that the apprehension of each is contingent upon the other. • Famous for wresting intense, hypnotic patterning from pills and decoupage, Fred Tomaselli’s work for this show consists of a logo-esque winged form composed of hemp leaves, floating in a black orb against a deep blue ground, suggesting a quasi-mystical state of altered consciousness and infinite perceptual space.