Taking its name from a Diamanda Galas record of the same name, Malediction and Prayer marks this year’s summer group show entry at London’s Modern Art. Delving into a range of richly expressive painting and sculpture throughout the show, the program takes on modes of seeing and representation that balances intimacy with intensity, dense layers with moments of triumphal revelation.
Throughout the show, each artist’s work seems to delve into these contrasts as a manner of mining and emphasizing the moments of pregnant silence and expectation within. In painter Nika Kutateladze’s canvases, for instance, a hazy, muted palette is used to negotiate the similarly obtuse behaviors and movements of his subjects. Here, poses and forms are similarly confounding, and faces seem to swim in and out of view, giving the scenes depicted a certain urgency and surrealism. By contrast, artist Willa Wasserman‘s immense canvases, composed from a range of whorling spirals and twisted, obscured human figures bring a similar sense of the visceral and violent while leaving space for contemplation and consideration. It’s as if the artist’s work seems to pull at these threads of tension and leave them out in the open, yet shies away from the moment of direct confrontation. The images are presented, yet held at a distance, at a length worthy of extended consideration.
These moments continue throughout the show, taking each artist’s work as an entry point for moments of intense, confrontational subject matter and an equally lengthy, considered approach towards presentation and consideration. Rather than emphasize these moments of spiritual and physical fury as the sole material for exploration here, the works on view rather take this as a starting point, burying their hefty emotional weight through a crafty series of gestural operations.
The show closes September 16th.
– C. Rinhart
Malediction and Prayer [Exhibition Site]