Getting to know art is different than seeing a show. Seeing work in a studio, then encountering it in a gallery leads to a direct link or intimacy. Bias is born in these moments. I believe all criticism is bias and the best of it is naked in its aim. I love art and its capacity to keep me ever-engaged and when something new comes along, I tend to notice it. I think people call this “an eye” for art, but I think it is simply a matter of tuning in to the work and embracing it. Then I can go about the business of comparing and curating until the world is neatly sorted into cultures and -isms.
I had such an experience of seeing Carole Seborovski‘s work in her studio and in her current show “Physical Intuition” at Nohra Haime Gallery (closing April 9). Carole and I connected over works on paper primarily, as I am a print dealer and paper lover. This past summer I spent some time with Carole looking at works on paper, ceramics and paintings with sculptural elements; many of which ended up in this show. The studio was hung floor to ceiling with work, as many of the best studios are. Corners were filled with sculpture in raw clay and ornate gold and silver leaf. The walls were hung with mostly new paintings, nearly all with sculptural interventions.
Drawn to graphite sheen and inky blacks, initially I was focused on works on paper but then the paintings crept in at the periphery. Many had affixed forms with small mirrors inside peep hole conical forms. The MoMA 1960’s show has a Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Early Donald Judd in its ‘61 room, and all three of these artists were on the road that Seborovski is on here. Painting doesn’t need to be flat or just one thing. In the studio, as in the gallery, I connected with the more intimate works. The same sentiment holds true for the works that were gray, black and white. With fewer distractions (less color) I could read the canvas better. Purged, a gray panel with a black and white painted band as frame has cream “poured” paint over the gray. The cream seems to flow against gravity creating upward movement while a buried string squiggles underneath. The white and black borders repeat on a knob form echoing the clean line at the edge. A small gray cup sits just above eye level like an unusable peep hole. All of these formal elements, the cup, the knob and the frame/border find homes in works throughout the exhibition.
Outside of the studio it is easier to see the continuity throughout these wall works. In the studio, it was difficult to see them as individual objects because they were sitting in traffic, instead of neatly placed. The sculpture is important here as well and I took notice of their individual characters when placed on pedestals. The more I thought about it, I wondered if some of these gallery objects feel divorced from that collected and gathered cluster in the studio. I remember thinking they looked like ceremonial objects in the studio but here, placed neatly they become capital A art objects and less familial or personal.
To see work in a beautiful gallery, lit the way art should, is to give it the space it deserves; but also to extract it from the place it came from. Seborovski shows well as a “gallery” artist, but I would love to see some of her studio here. All artists might do well to remember the room the art came from when they plan the room to show it in.