New York – Seth Price: “Ardomancer” at Petzel Through June 3rd, 2023

May 3rd, 2023

Seth Price, Ardomancer (Installation View), via Art Observed
Seth Price, Ardomancer (Installation View), via Art Observed

On view this month at Petzel Gallery’s 25th Street exhibition space, artist Seth Price brings forth a body of new works that merge together conceptual practices, AI-generated imagery, three-dimensional graphics and traditional painterly techniques to arrive at a range of works that subvert and confound easy readings. The show is only the second time in nearly a decade that Price has presented an exhibition of new work in New York, and offers a rare look at work by an artist who has long subverted and disrupted the reading of art as object and/or information. 

F0EE9C76-93BA-4BSeth Price, Ardomancer (Installation View), via Art Observed
Seth Price, Ardomancer (Installation View), via Art Observed

Price has long explored the potentials of the artist’s tools in the production of his work, and similarly, the impact that the work’s distribution, conception and understanding is shaped by the modern channels of information circulation. “Making art with extremely different tools and media helps you take control and lose it, back and forth, over and over,” he writes of these works. “I work on these paintings with brushes and pens and fingers, and sometimes my feet. Recently I’ve also been suggesting words to an AI, and we go back and forth until I get an image I like. I apply it to the painting using a reverse-transfer technique often used for shirts and stickers: I print the image on film and lay it face-down on liquid plastic poured on the painting, and when I lift the film the image transfers into the liquid, usually a little raggedly. While it’s wet I can finger paint in it, or tilt it to let it run, or blow on pigments and powders. Then I go back in with a brush.”

Seth Price, Ardomancer (Installation View), via Art Observed

Seth Price, Ardomancer (Installation View), via Art Observed

This hybridized technique arrives at a range of works that swim in and out of legibility. Familiar forms and figures (bodies, eyes, hands) are twisted through the lens of the hazy, often hiccuping methodologies of modern AI image production, and create forms that seem to evade the viewer. In many works, what appear as cups or domes seem to jut out from the canvas, yet the actual object is strikingly unclear. Despite lingering contemplation, one struggles to understand just what they are.

Price’s work revels in this sense of confusion, using the canvas as a site where the machine and the body co-exist in any number of ways. Drawing on notions discussed in previous texts like Fuck Seth Price, the notion of the algorithm offers him a space outside of his own practice, arriving instead at a new sphere of image generation.

The show closes June 3rd.

– D. Creahan

Read more:
Seth Price: Ardomancer [Exhibition Site]