OHGE Ltd. Looks at Contemporary Mark Making
Last night, I crowded into a steamy, packed upstairs gallery for the opening of DWG: A Look at Contemporary Mark Making, OHGE Ltd.’s excellent, if understated, contemporary drawing exhibition. Despite the show’s high-tech handle, many of the artists represented make decidedly low-tech work, from Gala Bent‘s latest pencil and gouache intricacies to Linda Hutchins‘ organic undulations in India ink.
Kevin Haas‘s austere etchings of silhouetted dumpsters (cut out and mounted on panel for a reason I could not discern) are not necessarily my thing, but the inclusion of an artist working in more-or-less traditional print media in an exhibition of contemporary mark making is a smart curatorial move. I was also excited to see new work by 2009 Neddy nominee Tim Cross, whose latest batch of wayward landscapes seem to have made bold strides toward a narrative cohesiveness since the last time I saw a group of them, while still retaining their characteristic variegated spontaneity.
On the more technological end of the spectrum are Scott Kolbo‘s Kentridge-esque animations projected onto a drawing generated by tracing isolated moments from the animation, creating a smart and charming hybrid in which the dimension of time gradually reveals its imprint on the 2-D surface. Peter Foucault‘s large drawing based on Philip Glass’s soundtrack to The Hours was produced in collaboration with the “drawing robots” the artist is known for, while a group of smaller works not pictured online (I emailed Alex Ohge for images…) embellished the aleatory fluidity of a liquid pigment spill with detailed areas of ink drawing to a surreal effect worthy of Max Ernst.
In all, I was impressed with the level of craft in all the works presented and in the variety of markmaking strategies employed given the limitations of the space. All of the drawings are neatly contained entities, reflecting the reality that OHGE Ltd. is an intimate space better suited for thoughtfully curated snapshots than immersive surveys or installations. The quietly organic quality that pervades this group reminds me of Robert Yoder’s also excellent show at Howard House this month, which I unfortunately did not get a chance to write about (Jen Graves’ review here) nor participate in (Susanna Bluhm’s experience here) but nevertheless enjoyed while it was up.
DWG: A Look at Contemporary Mark Making is installed at OHGE Ltd. through September 26. If you haven’t made it to the gallery yet, this show is the perfect excuse to do so.