Currently on view at its uptown exhibition space, David Zwirner is presenting an exhibition of works by William Eggleston and John McCracken, the first time the artists have been featured together, through a selection of works that explore color and light in their respective artistic visions. Expressing a natural interest in the forms and lines of the American landscape through documentation and precise geometries, the show is a fascinating exploration of the pair’s respective aesthetic visions.
While the pair’s practices are distinctively separate, the show makes much of their shared conceptual space. Working in sculpture and photography, respectively, each would go on to break with the practices of their contemporaries and challenge the traditional boundaries of their media, arriving at precise, meticulously crafted works that foreground line and color through direct address.
Whether the works are steady monoliths of rich color or scenes shot from a camera, the emphasis on space and relation remains. In works like McCracken’s Silver (2006), the structure’s reflection of light and polished surface contrast draw additional strength from the bright light and white walls of the gallery, creating a moment of structural tension that brings both architecture and the artist’s awareness of it to the foreground. Similarly, an untitled Eggleston photograph of an empty gas station relies on the balance of light and color, the architecture of the photograph and its subject in tandem to draw out nuances in the space and our understanding of its broader context.
When considered together, these works reveal synchronicities between their unique visions: McCracken’s pedestal works and planks can be likened to everyday objects while Eggleston’s photographs convey pure color and form. Found within McCracken’s imbued spirituality and Eggleston’s embrace of the spiritual banal are stories of the American psyche, from the heroic to the mundane.
The show closes April 17th.
– J. Shrine
William Eggleston and John McCracken [True Stories]