The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The eye that delights in detail will have a field day with “Brandished,” a two-person show on view at Re:View Contemporary. Featuring work by recent Cranbrook Academy of Art graduates Wes Taylor and Chitra Gopalakrishnan, “Brandished” presents digital prints, drawings and screen prints that explore the contrasting subjects of simplicity and complexity, challenging you with each piece to look closer. As Gopalakrishnan says in her artist statement, “Things are as simple or as complex depending on how much we allow ourselves to examine them.”
Taylor’s work is the more geometric of the two. His screen print and acrylic pieces are about establishing and then disrupting systems, patterns and order. His “Iso #1” and “Iso #2,” for instance, evoke the minimal, colorful shapes of Detroit’s now fading late ‘70s public murals, but they have a degraded quality, as if in anticipation of the ravages of time. Similarly, his “Color Fields With Bullet Proof,” 18 canvases that form one large rectangle, evoke both order (they’re carefully arranged, and several of the canvases are identical to each other) and the erosion of order, suggested in the digitized bleariness of the imagery and a breach, evoking a bullet hole, in one of the canvases.
Gopalakrishnan’s pieces, in contrast, are more organic and expressionistic. Her “Sugar Allegories” look, from a distance, like relatively simple, decisive ink marks. But get closer, and you’ll see a surprising, intricate universe of detail, tiny lines and whorls that draw you deeper and deeper in.
Her beautiful, sumptuous work revels in complexity, as in “The Song” and “The Perfect Human Being,” two digital c-prints that combine biological imagery with layer after layer of distinct textures, from bold, chaotic scribbling to text to delicate fans of color. These captivating, richly imagined works are about transformation, borders, liminal states and the easy, unforced cohabitation of abstraction and representation. They were obviously painstakingly produced and are truly wonders to behold.
“Brandished” is on view until July 23 at Re:View Contemporary, 444 W. Willis St., Detroit; 313-833-9000; reviewcontemporary.com. The gallery is open from 12 to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. A closing installation/performance inspired by the act of translating scientific principles into music and art will be performed by Taylor and noted MC Invincible on Friday, July 22 from 7 to 10 p.m.