EX-MILITARY “Love Birds: Imav,” 2010 unique digital print by Cliff Baldwin.

Adriane Herman recategorizes our most ephemeral and disposable documents as relevant cultural artifacts. From grocery and to-do lists to notes scrawled on Post-its, Herman slips between humor and scrutiny while unpacking the social narratives and psychological patterns loaded into the uncensored scribbles. Six of her notes are neatly framed and matted at Whitney Art Works, initially appearing to be just so. Upon closer inspection, the brightly hued Post-it notes and torn scraps of paper are rich surface rolls of ink sitting opaquely and sculpturally on paper, and the quickly scratched reminders are printed etchings. While the intensive reproduction process is a clever method of inflating the value of throwaways, what is most impressive about the etchings is how convincing they are. Herman's prints, all completed this year, are reproductions of actual found or gifted scraps, whose authors unwittingly humble their memory loss, lack of will power, resolutions, and self-deprecation in a very relatable way.

In making permanent and visible our private enumerations, Herman teases the attempt to organize and control the constant onslaught of choices, self-criticisms and intentions we all struggle with. Jeff Badger's comic aesthetic tackles similar themes, but where Herman's prints are subtle and leave room for interpretation, 12 of Badger's recent pen-and-ink drawings are spastic and overbearing. Badger's drawings employ humor as a considered defense mechanism against the incurable anxieties inherent in our contemporary perspective, asking simple but monumental questions and detailing the doomsday repercussions of any potential answer. Venn diagrams and cause-and-effect trees accompanied by signature illustrations combine both absurd and brutally honest ideas one might entertain when confronted with the questions of "How Shall We Make Our Feelings Known?" or "Why Not?" or "Have You Made a Decision?" "Affection Venn Diagram" is a simple diagram, with one larger circle representing "undying love forever," the overlap as "meh," and the second circle reading "go fuck yourself." While cynical, Badger seems to be encouraging his audience to shrug the weight of the "what-ifs" with a laugh.

Multi-media word artist Cliff Baldwin is known for his large-scale installations and multiples orchestrated with Fluxus artist Davi Det Hompson. In four unique digital prints snuggled between Herman and Badger's work, Baldwin corroborates the ability of text to re-contextualize almost anything. "Love Birds" is a series of hazy periwinkle-toned aerial shots of white unmanned drone bombers bearing wildly colored text interventions in over-stylized fonts. "Love Birds: MQ-9" sports a loud purple "LUV", emasculating the military hardware and preparing it for potential missions to celebrate love and affection.

Megan O'Connell's installation "Play of Reflections and Speed/Jeux des Reflets et de la Vitesse" renders the back gallery of the Whitney a trove of ocular text curiosities. Sixty unique text-and-pattern compositions of dry-transfer film and rubber on convex glass huddle in the corners of the room, playing with light and shadow. Varying in opacity and density, O'Connell's compositions provide textual information with a sculptural quality that promotes the consideration of forms and how they might feel in the mouth.

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: Fall Art Preview: Rising to the challenge, Review: '10 Most Endangered Properties'; plus, 'Chromophilia', Review: A. Cemal Ekin's 'Touching the History' at PC, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Photography, Museums, Cliff Baldwin,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious

 See all articles by: ANNIE LARMON