This month, Petzel Gallery embarks on an understated but engaging show, bringing together a selection of works by Jorge Pardo, Seth Price, Pieter Schoolwerth, and Emily Mae Smith, at the gallery’s uptown exhibition space. Bringing together a selection of works on paper that span a range of forms, both physical and cerebral, the works on view represent an element of the artist’s process in developing the larger-scale works we have come to know them by.
There’s any number of points of entry here, and a range of artistic touchstones to explore. There’s Pieter Schoolwerth’s subtle models, which he uses to construct his dense, multi-layered works incorporating imagery from a range of photographs, drawings, art historical iconography, printed materials, and pop culture references. Much like a maquette, the pieces take on a flattened sense of the same conceptual honing, using the artist’s process to arrive at the final objects. By contrast, Seth Price’s new drawings, a rotation of gouache, pencil, and enamel mix on paper and Mylar present bodies in cross-section, almost cartoonish appreciations of the disparate elements, almost as if he had reversed both subject matter and concept, deconstructing the body down to its bare elements.
Emily Mae Smith presents a wrinkle to the threads presented above, with a set of studies on paper for recently completed paintings (all 2021). Drawing out background elements from The Studio (Speculative Objects), for a series of small-scale compositions that the artist presents here a kettle nestled in a nook and a crucifixion scene high-up on the wall, creating a series of echoes for the artist’s hyper-dense spatial arrangements.
These works, all basking in engagements with the body and material, get a striking reversal in Jorge Pardo’s work, layered compositions that invert the sense of the study entirely. To create these new works, first the image is composed digitally, then the outlines are printed on paper, next color is added, and finally, the moire pattern is overlaid or printed on top to create a raised effect—a very similar process to Pardo’s recent engraved MDF lightbox paintings. Embracing the work’s place as image first and foremost, the pieces take on their own role beyond graphical study, here given space to thrive.
The show closes April 24th.
– C. Rhinehardt
Petzel Gallery [Exhibition Site]