April 20, 2019
“The everyday and universal objects are often overlooked and ignored. I am bringing these elements into sharp focus. Placing them in a more central role. It’s surprising how universal some objects are. A ladder for instance, a chair, a table. I always love to visit the flea markets and junk shops of a city, this is where I find the real language of the city. The ‘stuff’ people have lived with or live with on a day-to-day basis.”
Skin Shape marks Jim Lambie’s eighth solo exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery. The artist takes humble materials and transforms them into bright and joyful work; this exhibition will take ladders, sunglass lenses, doors, and monitors, and render them into surprising work that vibrate and pulse with the musical energy Lambie imbues in everything he makes.
On the first floor of the gallery, the artist mounts seven mirrored ladders that lean into the heights of the atrium space, anchored by concrete bases that echo and reinforce the materiality and utility of the ladder. Yet the mirrors between the rungs render the objects non-functional. The ladders’ bright colors and reflective surfaces instead create an optical dance with the familiar, offering a reverberating new context for the objects, pushing the viewer into unexpected ways of seeing them and the surrounding gallery environment.
Also on the first floor, Lambie will debut a new seven channel video installation. On each screen, the artist appears briefly in his studio; a wall filled with paint splashes serves as the background as he raises a spraypaint can and slowly soaks the screen with a color; it rests for a while and then the sequence repeats. A master of color and the energy it creates, the result is a subtle, oddly satisfying, and meditative experience.
On the second floor, sunglasses and doors are recontextualized into vibrating wall sculptures, presented for the first time in New York. Lambie’s lens works are comprised of found sunglasses lenses that are fused together with metal. Inspired by stained glass windows, the result is a rock-n’-roll remix of the medium’s traditional techniques, using the ultimate symbol of cool. Viewers and their surroundings are reflected in each colorful lens, transforming the gallery and our perception into a vibrant, undulating landscape of color, rhythm, movement, and groove.
The door sculptures are comprised of wooden doors typical of Lambie’s home city, Glasgow, that have been quartered and reassembled into rectangular tubes. They are then spray painted with colorful gradients, and hung on the wall in different numerical iterations. The everyday door becomes an inspired surface on which Lambie takes his keen interest in color and transforms the object into a vibrant work of art.
2019The New Yorker