Spread, (c) Emily Lindskoog, 2010
In her recent article, It’s Not Dry Yet, the ever-erudite New York Times Art Critic Roberta Smith presents yet another successful defense against those persistent voices proclaiming the death of painting. Within the article however, there is an even more interesting discussion concerning those that still pit abstract against representational art. Ms. Smith articulates why this is so clearly a ridiculous argument, and why any such argument that grounds itself in privileging one medium or method over another is a rather self-destructive and archaic, if not juvenile, point of view.
Within all of the visual arts, abstraction and representation co-exist. Any three-dimensional entity, reduced to a two-dimensional picture plane is abstracted. In Minimalism both are stripped to their most essential form; even those ultimate thinkers Art and Language, have relied on description to convey the most abstract theories about the practice, status and nature of being and artist and making art. Indeed, the infinite means in which text, sign and context can be manipulated, perceived and understood indicates almost ultimate abstraction and pure representation.
Artist Emily Lindskoog, who’s MFA Thesis exhibition titled Left Hand Right Hand, is currently on view at Pratt Institute’s Steuben West Gallery, is firmly grounded within both the abstract and representational realms. The works, monumental drawings on paper, are pure and perfect figurative gestures, demonstrating through drawing media and saliva, the extent to which her body can reach, coordinate, spew and project. One may perceive an abstract drawing, but actually receives the representation of Lindskoog’s physical limits. In addition, the lineage is also there, her media culled from early history cave paintings. Despite what may be perceived as a brutish method of mark-making, Lindskoog’s spitting, spraying and synchronizing of right hand with left, produces elegant and powerful works. The exhibition will remain open through Friday, April 2, 2010.
In a week that marks solemn observations by two of the world’s prominent faiths, Left Hand Right Hand confirms my belief - blessed be painting in all its permutations.