Thursday, February 19, 2009

Don't pay attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. -Andy Warhol
Dana Schultz, Missing Pictures at Zach Feuer Gallery
For her latest exhibition, Missing Pictures, Schutz depicts halted hobbyists, demonstrative group efforts, therapeutic situations, and fragments of people passing time. These tableaux take place in late-afternoon interiors, constructed stage-like settings and isolated pastoral landscapes that appear to be at the edge of an industrialized world. The paintings depict activities that precede an event, making visible the pictorial moment, frozen and deferred, before an image comes into being and form becomes manifest. Here, Schutz treats the picture as a material, a malleable situation where the rearrangement of objects is implied. Bodies are props and seem to have come from a previous context. Some paintings on view depict suspended narratives in which the objects and characters appear to have been singed, as if something terrible happened from outside the frame. In one painting 'before' and 'after' collide as a small religious group tries to reassemble a car and driver after an accident. Singers never finish their songs, contracts remain unsigned and writers hover on the cusp of the next letter. Passing time is implied as trains cut through frozen scenes and clouds scroll by an introspective sculpture that has managed to sit on, merge with and block out an otherwise festive couple. In Schutz's new work, preliminary information, such as schematic stains and thumbnail sketches, remain visible and are incorporated into the finished paintings. Linear marks deface the picture. Features peel off their subjects. Spaces dissolve as washes misalign with patterned fields. As Schutz shows us around the sunny and anxious territory of her most recent fiction, the paintings unmake themselves in front of us.

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