Churner and Churner is pleased to announce an exhibition of work by Elise Adibi. In “Da Capo,” Adibi’s second solo exhibition in New York, the artist extends her investigations of painting and drawing, working with a limited set of materials – canvas, carbon powder, charcoal, and oil paint – to create artworks that embody her ongoing relationship with philosophical notions of repetition and precedence.
Adibi works with six-foot square canvases that avoid the connotations of landscape or portraiture, and allude to the body with their scale. In the drawings, she creates a grid, following the weave of the canvas, and traces it with graphite or fills it in with charcoal. But as the sweep of her hand carries her to the end of one line, only to start again just below, smears and smudges mark the spaces where the grid is met by its materiality. In the paintings, Adibi covers the canvas in a base of gold or copper and paints a thick impasto topped with graphite powder. This technique is a reversal of her earlier use of graphite, moving what is typically a base material to the painting’s very surface. Through the physicality of her process and the nature of her materials, Adibi finds contingency within a highly determined structure.
The musical term “da capo” means “from the beginning,” or literally, “from the head.” It tells the performer to repeat a section of music, marking a return to the beginning of a repeated phrase. Adibi begins the works in this series with similar basic parameters, and with the same affirmative notion of repetition. For Adibi, starting from the beginning while simultaneously repeating what has come before is an optimistic act. She derives freedom from limitation, in a Modernist vein, but realizes that what her practice is after is not an endpoint, but a becoming. These paintings strive for what Nietzsche described in Beyond Good and Evil: the essence of the “most high-spirited, alive and world affirming being who has not only come to terms and learned to get along with whatever was and is, but who wants to have what was and is repeated into all eternity, shouting insatiably da capo.”