Put the eye back in the O through a small gap and look from there at the other eye—across—dead, now, here.
Put the eye back in the O and continue—rewrite.
What name? Yours, mine, his, hers, perhaps even that of the buried god.
(Louis Marin, “Panofsky and Poussin in Arcadia”)
"From One O to the Other” presents three bodies of work by R. H.
Quaytman, including recent paintings, Chapter 10: Ark, and a new book
of writings, Allegorial Decoys. The exhibition was organized by
Quaytman with Rhea Anastas, an art historian, and Amy Sillman, an
artist, both of whom will also present new projects.
Marin’s artful reading of the famous inscription on Nicolas Poussin’s
painted tombstone resonates with the questions and preoccupations of
Quaytman’s current group of silkscreen on wood works. Chapter 10: Ark
was made during the three year period from 2005-2008 that Quaytman
spent as director of Orchard, and the works draw liberally from the
artists with whom the gallery has realized works and exhibitions since
opening, frequently in evidence in installation views appearing in the
paintings. All of the works, some of them hand-painted and abstract,
are records of Quaytman’s looking, figured here by such means as Op
patterning, silkscreen amplifications from Polaroid source imagery, and
by the residues, materials and marks of printing or hand-painting
These works are in dialogue with the history and ideas of painting
while boldly engaging a near opposite: the practices and discourses
Benjamin Buchloh has named “perceptual withdrawal,” which for over
three decades have placed painting in an obsolescent, if not archaic
position. Quaytman’s works ask for excavation and deciphering, modes of
attention complemented by the forms of display that define the
exhibition. Many of the paintings can be found in an open storage rack
near the rear of the gallery. Visitors are invited to pull them out,
handle, and view them. Other works are sited in strong mimetic
relationship to the architecture of the gallery and street. The
paintings are peripherally situated to the huge spreadsheet of
Orchard’s entire three year finances hanging in the front room.
Amy Sillman’s new project, Representation, embarks on a collective
portrait of Orchard’s members and larger community. Beginning in
February, the artist sat with each of her subjects for at least one
hour, producing several ink and gouache drawings that are rich in
expression even while restricted to monochrome head and face views.
Taken together, these perceptual and empirical records become social,
even as their “whole” of artists, supporters, critics, collectors, and
visitors remains inevitably elusive. This portrait of Orchard is by
definition narrower than a Huebler or McCollum-inspired portrait of
“everyone,” although its “many” is powerfully suggestive of identities
beyond those so often fixed upon us.
Sillman will continue her portrait series at Orchard four Saturdays
during the run of the exhibition: March 29, April 5, April 12 and April
Two additional archives round out the exhibition. In one, arranged in
vitrines, Anastas presents a partial record of the print and web
coverage received by Orchard over the past three years. The
documentation describes the curious process by which a gallery
predicated on self-reflection has itself been looked at and represented
by others. Joining this is a second, up-to-date version of Quaytman’s
poster Orchard Spreadsheet, a data listing of the gallery’s program and
financial existence—from exhibitions and events to artwork prices and
percentages paid on sales.
Finally, “From One O to the Other” gently traverses notions of
authorship and acknowledges its debt to its friends by inviting a
selection of “others”—as artist Louise Lawler has often referred to
them—to sit in, represent, and otherwise mind the shop on select
Sunday March 23: Thomas Eggerer
Sunday April 6: David Joselit
Sunday April 13: Carol Greene
Sunday April 20: Valerie Smith