Liz Deschenes “Gravity’s Pull”

Miguel Abreu Gallery (88 Eldridge St.)

poster for Liz Deschenes “Gravity’s Pull”

This event has ended.

Liz Deschenes is a photographer who, in the best modernist tradition, pushes against the basic terms by which photography is conventionally defined: instantaneity, veracity, fixity, or reproducibility.

— Matthew Witkovsky

Miguel Abreu Gallery presents Liz Deschenes’ Gravity’s Pull, her sixth one-person exhibition at the gallery. The show, which is comprised of a new series of ceiling mounted prints on Gorilla Glass, will be held at our 88 Eldridge Street space.

While retaining a fundamental connection to what can be referred to as the photographic, Liz Deschenes’ work of recent years has been progressively distancing itself from that general category in order to directly engage the realms of architecture and sculpture, as well as the dimension of time itself. As the photographic mode expands its reach to ever more intimate zones of human experience, such an evolution would seem logical to the discerning and inquisitive artist, the one interested in first capturing the world as it is before making any attempt to alter or transform it.

In Gravity’s Pull, Deschenes turns to the effects of screen imagery on sensation and consciousness. She works with an alkali-aluminosilicate glass, one of the screen universe’s preferred materials, and renders it opaque. Indeed, apart from various intensities of light dimming through the lush monochrome surface of the works, no constituted image seems able to show through, as if by willed resistance of the glass sheet. There is no information to be digested apart from the sheer presence of ultra-thin, mobile-like objects floating in space, positioned at a more or less short distance from the walls behind them. Arranged in rhythmic line formations, they duplicate and sometimes extend the pre-existing wall structure of the galleries, at once suspending and intensifying the architectural impact on the viewer.

The printed Gorilla Glass sheets, pinched and stabilized into position by a rough band of stainless steel, can be approached and examined from front or back, thus subverting the normally passive, monodirectional experience of a screen and its pulsating content. There is no established recto and verso; one side of the plane is matte, the other simply glossy. Square shaped and with slightly rounded corners, the panels form a kind of silent and precise dance of outsized color pixels liberated from the surface of their native domain into three-dimensional space.

At the outset of the exhibition, a single work embraces the wall directly, like a Japanese hanging scroll, held up by a thin metal cable in triangular formation, effectively doubling the work’s height. It might be noted that all the works in the show are installed mid-distance between the floor and ceiling, that is slightly above the standard picture height for ideal, isolated viewing.

In a small side gallery, two nearly identical black glass works are installed opposite one another. Their convex surface brings to mind an enlarged Claude glass, the typically pocket-book size visual device used by artists, travelers and connoisseurs of landscape since the 18th-century. The users turned their back on the scene to observe the framed view through the tinted mirror–in a sort of pre-photographic lens–which added the picturesque aesthetic of a subtle gradation of tones.

Liz Deschenes (b. 1966, Boston) lives and works in New York. She has been exhibiting internationally for over 25 years. Institutional solo exhibitions of her work have been held at ICA Boston (2016); MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (2015); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2014); and the Secession, Vienna (2012). Recent major group exhibitions include the Geneva Biennale: Sculpture Garden, (2022); Une seconde d’éternité, Pinault Collection, Bourse de Commerce, Paris (2022); Shifting the Silence, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2022); True Pictures? Contemporary Photography from Canada and the USU, Sprengel Museum, Hanover (2021); The Inconstant World, ICA Los Angeles (2021); and Luogo e Segni Pinault Collection – Punta della Dogana, Venice (2019). Her work was included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, and is held in the permanent collections of Centre Pompidou, Paris; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Walker Art Center; Art Institute of Chicago; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art; Corcoran Museum of Art; Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and Pinault Collection, among others.



from November 04, 2023 to December 23, 2023


Liz Deschenes

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