Friday, August 18, 2006

Allover | Suzanne Doremus & Jim Lutes | Zolla/Lieberman

Allover | Susanne Doremus and Jim Lutes | Zolla/Lieberman Gallery
Originally posted on Panel-House: November 2004

There is something so basic about line. Something incredibly commanding about the underlying fact of its presence. Line has nothing but itself, it is contained: lyric and concrete. Both Susanne Doremus and Jim Lutes have in their individual practice, a lot of which is on display at Zolla/LIeberman, exhibited their focus and fine execution of line. In “allover” Doremus and Lutes not only show this individual work allowing it to bleed across galleries but they also exhibit works where their lines crossed and spilled collaboratively.

The mix of drawings and paintings coagulate through the galleries. A line of Doremus pieces then a single Lutes painting, or a patchwork of both artists and then a horizontal drawing both Doremus and Lutes worked on. Certainly there are differing approaches in both of their individual work; Doremus’ sinuous line over flat grounds and Lutes’ frenetic semi-figurative paintings. Their intersection into large collaborative drawings is a plateau in this show.

In these collaborative drawings Doremus and Lutes meet. Areas in these drawings are activated by ink dips, spills, graphite lines, and pools that compose a graffiti like surface. A surface much cruder than the refined de rigueur retro-“urban” graffiti writing rather the mottled walls of a public restroom crude and improvised. More the gouge or the pathetic genitalia than Futura 2000. A surface of random marks, scribbles, and doodles that opens the field to Cy Twombly just as much as Jean Dubuffet. This connection to the abject in graffiti has been made in the case for Twombly in Roaslind Krauss and Yves-Alain Bois’ “Formless: A User’s Guide”. In “Formless” both Bois and Krauss link a differing trajectory of modernism away from purity but, through Bataille’s ‘informe’, to a place outside of the form or content binary to a third area of the ‘formless’. In the scattered and strewn collaborative drawings of Doremus and Lutes perhaps what is so striking is these works contrast from the contained inclusiveness of their own individual recognizable pieces as paintings and drawings. The logic evacuates and the sense of who did what disappears and no longer are the authors looming. The untitled collaborative drawings begin to lose their form as drawings or as mistakes. The markers get thankfully muddied as they should be.

It is refreshing to observe their lines stutter, repeat, skip, catch, and spill. The methods of these drawings differ much from Twombly’s but their engagement to creating a field of marks, that appear intentional or accidental, exhibits an allegiance to the scrawl. Certain forms repeat, go unfinished, riff and blast across these drawings with an uninvited brashness that exposes the weight of this welcome collaboration.

Written by Terence Hannum

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