Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Empire of Dirt.
After seeing Nicole Eisenman's swath of a show on Saturday night, a breather was in order. Sunday afternoon, Nacho Labás' paintings at Outrageous Look in Williamsburg were just the palette cleansers I needed. While Eisenman's rumble celebrates paint, Labás ignores it. Both approaches make me happy, but Labás' work feels more like home.
Maybe it's the Pittsburgh in me, but I yearn for the rust. I can't help myself, and Labás delivers the decay and the beauty therein. The artist uses mixed media to create portraits of things falling apart. I have to say that the more abstract works are my favorite. The exhibition brings to mind the deserted and bleeding walls of industry in Pittsburgh or North Philly, while often referencing the oxidation paintings of Andy Warhol and William Anastasi.
I could stare at these controlled accidents for hours. While they accept the beauty of the present there's a sadness around what they've left behind, what they once were. That gives them a feeling of slow but palpable movement, like visual drones. Corrosion is both subtraction and addition. So, while there's a tension in these paintings that simulates dying buildings, in the end they mirror our own disappearing bodies. Hurt.