Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Writ Crit

Critique of Danny Greenberg’s Work by Liz Belen. 2/8/2011

Upon entering the instillation space where Danny has chosen to display his work, the viewer is confronted with several different pieces. On the wall immediately to your right, hangs a drawing of two figures on a piece of cloth, loosely framed with nails and a piece of glass. This first piece is about 10x8.5 and appears to be a pen and ink drawing on white cloth. The two figures appear to be men and their faces are touching. However, it is possible that the image is simply a mirroring image of one male (due to the similarity in line, as well as facial features, but I am not certain.) Both sets of lips are pursed but they do not appear to be touching or kissing. On the right side of the image it states: “What am I doing lol.” This could be interpreted in many ways, however this statement evokes feelings of confusion, doubt and even happiness from the figures. The line quality of this piece is very capturing and the way in which the artist chose to frame and nail the piece to the wall appears playful and fresh.

Moving counterclockwise around the room, the next work is a white piece of paper with a small, delicately drawn image, constructed of thousands of dots butting up again one another to create an interesting form on the page. The dots are placed in extremely close proximity to one another, forming small shapes that make up the one, large, angular, free-form shape. This shape floats in space and exists alone in the middle to upper right hand side of the paper. The bright colors are a new and interesting component within Danny’s latest works. The color adds movement, complexity and overall, a different feeling (more playful, intricate and dense) to the small, meticulous and repetitive dots that make up the smaller, color-coded shapes. It is unclear whether or not this piece is finished, however I am very interested in how the lovely mark making combines with sections of color to form a very angular and expressive entity that exists on its own in a field of white.

Next, a tapestry or quilt hangs from the wall. Each square depicts the same woodcut that was printed many times in various colors. The squares have been sewn together in a random formation to create a dynamic piece with a great amount of movement.

Because each square appears to be the same image printed in a different color, there is a sense of harmony created through repetition, movement and the lines that have been carved. It is appears that the artist meticulously carved each line in his woodcut in order to create a flowing, purposeful image that is dependent on line weight and mark making as the piece flows from one square to the next.

On the left back wall of the space, two identical images printed on cloth hang side by side, one blue, one black. The images created are woodcuts (clue: large woodcuts that lean against the adjacent wall). The image clearly reads as the back of a man’s shirt, due to the folds, creases, wrinkles, and stripes that are carefully carved. The careful attention to detail, meticulousness, repetitive line quality and intentional subtleties that exists in this piece, as well as the quilt, are extremely beautiful. The top of the shirt is beautifully rendered or carved, as well as the body of the shirt that depicts every single curve, or movement that a man’s shirt would take on throughout the day. The contrast in color between the two pieces (black and blue) reveals introduces a specific conversation, or a binary, perhaps the masculine vs. the feminine. I get this feeling due to the pale, airy and light feeling the pale blue gives off in comparison to the dark, rigid structure that the black ink creates on the stark white fabric. The artist’s attention to detail and the way that he has chosen to render this shirt is very capturing. The lines force the viewer to want to keep looking, searching and following each and every line from side to side, or bottom to top, watching to see how each line relates to the next and so on.

Pinned in the corner, purposefully or not purposefully, is a very small piece of paper covered with the repetitive, static dots that were similarly shown in a previous piece. Small shapes make up a much larger shape that takes over the piece of paper and falls to the bottom. This piece is extremely detailed and grabs the viewer’s eye due to the repetitive mark but also the use of color.

Leaning against the left wall when one walks into the space, are two woodcuts. One has been printed and displays the back of a man’s shirt, and the other, the front of a man’s shirt, however, this piece has not been carved. Placed on top of this wood is a photocopy of the man’s shirt and a red pen drawing on top of that. The image has been placed on butcher paper, on top of the wood, depicting a male figure (the artist?) with a button down shirt that is pinned, revealing his body shape/structure. I am very interested in the lines and shadows that are then created. After knowing the artist and having been given a glimpse into the works, it is apparent that several political and or ethical issues are at work. Unlike the previous pieces, it was very hard to uncover a meaning or underlying concept. Within these pieces the color emphasize the masculine vs. feminine as well as the pinning of the shirt, the attention to detail and the desire to reveal ones figure while remaining clothed. Without titles it is also difficult to pin point exactly what the artist is saying or a specific subject matter. However, these works are beginning to force the viewer to question, wonder and hopefully and definitely piece together this of the self, body and gender that is present throughout all of the works.

Lastly, Vaseline is purposefully placed on an approximately 10x12 piece of fabric and hung on the left wall. This piece allows for multiple interpretations, but reinforces this idea of the self, body and gender in countless ways. This piece, disgusting yet intriguing could be explored more thoroughly and the use of the black Vaseline may reveal different emotions from viewers and create an entirely different piece.

In conclusion, all of these pieces are beginning to create great conversation with one another. Each piece has something new and distinctive to contribute, reveal or express when viewed in a group. The artist is beginning to hammer out the details and subtly, or not so subtly express feelings, emotions and truths that exist in today’s world and his world. The two woodcuts illustrating the front and the back of the shirt, are working to express a binary, a front and a back, subjectivity or objectivity, subtly. Each piece has its own meaning and its own strength. The presentation could be a little cleaner and more purposeful, but overall these works present a great amount of conversation and it is very obvious how much thought, intention and attention to detail has gone into these works!

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