Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hammer Projects, Grunwald Collection - A Review by Allison Peairs

Every Now. And Again. (Hammer Projects: Linn Meyers); Linn Meyers; Ink drawing on wall; May 7 - November 6, 2011.

Linn Meyers’ Every Now. And Again. is an installation in the Lobby of the Hammer Museum at UCLA that is on view from May 7, 2011 until November 6, 2011. Meyers' work is a brilliant example of the transformative power of line. Meyers’ work is essentially the compulsive manipulation of line through meticulous and almost rhythmic repetition into an enormous organic composition vibrating with near tangents that give the illusion of mathematical precision. On massive aubergine and navy blue blocked walls, the lines that make up the meat of the piece are drawn with pale yellow opaque ink. The shift in temperature from the warm yellow line work to the cool dark background contributes to the reverberating and almost glimmering quality of the entire work.

No World (from An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters); Kara Walker; Etching with aquatint, sugar-lift, spit-bite, and drypoint; 2010.

Kara Walker’s etching, No World. (from An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters), is a poetic allusion to trans-Atlantic slave trade. The piece is monochromatic and depicts two large black hands reaching from the ocean depths holding a schooner in their fingertips. The orientation of the hands gives a playful feeling to print, regardless of its dark disturbing undertones. A dark strip of sky, which emphasizes a ‘here’ vs. ‘there’ quality, bisects the composition while unifying element between the two sections of space is the dark ocean connecting them. These qualities lend to the almost mythological quality that horrifying chunk of American history has taken on in the midst of the country’s conception.

Preference: Between Meyer’s linear wall drawing and Walker’s illustrative etching, it’s difficult to choose a favorite considering how dissimilar they are to one another. I have personal preferences for each piece for different reasons that are incomparable- however in terms of concept I favor Meyer’s work. I find the idea of bringing art back to its most fundamental element (line) and generating a massive undulating composition exhilarating. Viewing the work has an almost meditative quality to it, satiating an unconscious suppressed desire for repetition.

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