Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Saw Her Across A Crowded Room

by Drew Martin
I saw her across a crowded room of the small gallery. She caught my eye from the moment I entered the art space on the evening of a buzzing opening. I beelined through the dense conversations to meet her face to face. There was something in her appearance that made me feel as if we had much in common. It was a look of which I would never tire. She was wearing yellow and was shapely like no other. I asked her who she was but got no response. Finally, someone in the gallery told me her name: Frame #24 by Nick McPhail.

I think entering a room full of art is very much like entering a room full of people. You immediately sum up the contents, pick your favorites, and engage with them. An art opening combines both. Bashfully shy in a new crowd, I tend to focus on the art. This is how it was tonight, when I went to the opening of the show titled Recurrence, featuring Edgar Arceneaux, Lauren Fensterstock, Colter Jacobsen, Ariana Papademetropoulus, and Nick McPhail. The show is curated by Luisa Aguilar Solis and Georgia Horn at the Fridman Gallery on Spring Street in SoHo, NYC.

When I saw Frame #24 I immediately liked it for many reasons. It looked like a pencil, a banana, and/or a schoolbus that had converted to art. I also really like paintings that are moving towards sculpture because there is something very evolutionary about them. But I am not particularly crazy about paintings that compete with sculpture, like some of Frank Stellas large wall works. By contrast, Frame #24 makes me think that if I come back tomorrow it might look a little different.

While writing this I wondered whether or not my initial attraction to Frame #24 was due to the fact that it looks so familiar, and has a childhood connection, which I tuned into because I felt a bit awkward in a new place for me. If that is the case then I really need to start looking at art more from a standpoint that first questions why I like or do not like something. 

Pictured here are some of Nick McPhail's paintings on display, left to right, top: Frame #24, #31, #26, #1, and left to right bottom: Frame #21, #13, #30, #32.