Reena Spaulings “The Male Gates” at Matthew Marks Gallery, Los Angeles
Reena Spaulings: The Male Gates is an exhibition of new paintings on canvas and walk-through security gates. With a few rough coats of decorator’s enamel, devices typically installed at airports, schools, nightclubs, museums, etc., now set up a passing encounter between painting and the standardization of infrastructure. Here the technology of passage becomes a site in itself, a form that addresses the human body while trying to hold the space of the gallery like Minimalist sculpture. Five gates are installed together with a very large “seascape” made with floor-cleaning robots. This latter work translates the weird weather of late Turner using Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsions and the algorithmic scrubbing of a smart mop. Other smaller works on canvas revisit pointillism as depersonalized mark-making, repetitively adding colors until a neutral, grayish swarming starts to happen. These druggy “medusas” drift between composition and decomposition, multiplying clouds of oil and enamel points over quick acrylic underpaintings.
Years and miles of transit within the over-swollen world of art produces a feeling somewhere between jet lag, disorientation, and ennui, which in better moments can almost be mistaken for intoxication. Overfullness and echoing hollowness all at once. It’s not just that a world in flight and in fragments is only held together by a proliferation of drugs, apps, therapies, and other checkpoints, but that fragmentation has become the precondition and very engine of control, male or otherwise. This is a perception that verges on the psychedelic, especially when we consider how every new safe space already announces the wildness and unmanageability of the real.
Also on view are two new marble sculptures: a surfboard made with the same blue stone that Adolf Loos chose for the Semler House in Pilsen, Czech Republic, and a tombstone-like boogie board.
at Matthew Marks Gallery, Los Angeles
until 30 June 2018