The word “mark” takes the center stage in Team Gallery’s ongoing group exhibition, featuring works by Erica Baum, Louise Fishman, Suzanne McClelland, Shannon Ebner, and Al Loving. Aptly and simply titled mark, the exhibition gathers a group of two dimensional works in print and painting that loosely investigate the impact of visual culture on personal and collective memory. Initiated through varied linguistic and social traits of the word finding to its current use and connotations in modern English, the various approaches here explore differing meanings of the “mark,” each of which serve as tactics to examine societal codings of information, ethics, and culture.
McClelland’s two paintings of turbulent abstract forms, interrupted with figures and words, embody a specific case in our collective consciousness, exploring ongoing discussions of gender equality and wage earnings in a sharply-witted and skillfully painted fashion. In Mark and Michelle in Red and Mark and Michelle Blue, the Brooklyn painter encapsulates the mammoth gap in Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams’s payments for their respective refilmed scenes for “All the Money in the World,” following the Kevin Spacey sex abuse scandal. Four-time Oscar nominee Williams’s hundred-dollar per diem as opposed to Wahlberg’s million dollar paycheck surfaces in voluptuous lines, combining alarming red tones and soothing blue ones to shroud its direct social commentary behind the mystery of abstraction.
Marking, in terms of leaving a trace, is evident in Baum’s gelatin silver prints of blackboards with partially erased words, still bearing their meanings through smeared yet legible letters, while elsewhere allowing the marks to blend into smudges of chalk to lose their consistency. Baum, whose practice involves documentation of the ways we document data, captures peripheral elements of systematic intellectual knowledge, photographing library cards or catalogue tags. In one, a list of a few works seemingly alluding to Hamlet appears on the black surface, blurring the line between semiotics and abstraction.
Fishman’s My Guernica not only marks a feminist twist on Picasso’s namesake masterpiece, but also decodes ingrained systems of looking and remembering art dictated by mainstream course of male-centric art history. Fishman’s signature potpourri of tempestuous brushstrokes and unapologetic riffs on the machismo of Abstract Expressionism finds a glorious embodiment in the sensuality of red and formality of black. The painting celebrates marking as a political gesture and an artistic drive, underlining the performative aspect of the word the exhibition takes cues from.
mark is on view at Team Gallery through April 21, 2018.
Team Gallery [Exhibition Page]