'The 2012 Drawing Annual'
Don't let Tiny Park Gallery go without experiencing this exhibit of depth and meaning
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., May 18, 2012
'The 2012 Drawing Annual'Tiny Park Gallery, 6071⁄2 Genard
Through May 20
The latest show at Tiny Park Gallery is also the last show at Tiny Park Gallery.
I say this to instill a sense of urgency, a feeling of I'd-better-not-miss-this, because the current show is something that you don't want to miss. But, OK, I'm kind of fudging the truth, I'm smearing the facts a little – the way an artist working with graphite or charcoal would
tortillon a heavy line into a soft gray fade that better serves the purpose of what he's trying to render.
Tiny Park Gallery, currently run out of the spare and elegant house of co-curators Brian Willey and Thao Votang, will be moving into an actual commercial space across from the Longbranch Inn on East 11th sometime in June, see. But what's also true is: The current exhibition won't be moving with them. Saturday the 19th is your last chance to see "The 2012 Drawing Annual."
To see it? To experience it, seriously. And I could be talking only about the gallery's smaller room, in which Miguel Aragon's monochromatic portraits cover entire walls. These are images – 50 inches x 38 inches – whose stark black-and-white printing have been brought to greater detail by the artist having drilled Ben-Day dotlike holes into the paper, creating not only precise patterns of white spots to better define the shadows, but also providing, with those holes and the varied amounts of shredding that occurs, a compelling pattern of texture in the large captured vision.
Even better, the artist couldn't just drill into paper that was hanging in the air. Physics required a support for the enormous sheet, and that support was an even larger sheet of drywall – into which the drill's whirling bit also precisely chewed, deforming the substrate of cardboard and gypsum to create therein a ghostly, hole-riddled echo of the image drilled into the paper above. And when you stand in the smaller room of Tiny Park, looking at the paper image, that drywall sheet is hanging on the wall directly behind you.
It's like you're midway between a sequence illustrating how time erodes our physical faces and, more treacherously, our memories of those faces. And there's a second iteration of this process on the walls next to the first, turning the small room into a graphic chamber of creation and dissolution, and making the stop at Tiny Park more than worthwhile right there.
Oh, but there's more. We'll just mention Leah Haney's three untitled collages of buildings, collages enhanced with ink and chalk on wooden board, that improve the gallery's west wall with gorgeous deconstructions (or mashups) of architecture. And Dave Culpepper's hatchet-hanging, partially woodcut installation along the east wall: The sort of multipartite creation that gives the term "installation" a good name. And there's still more.
"We like to show work that has a certain depth and meaning, that's more than just the surface," says Willey. "But work that also has an immediate effect, that people can appreciate without having some nth degree in art history." The curators succeed wonderfully in this. Which is why a visit to Tiny Park will be repaid with pleasure – but, quickly now, before the art of this "Drawing Annual" is history.