CLOSING SOON: 2 SHANGHAI SHOWS YOU SHOULDN’T MISS

"Sue Williams," installation view, 2014, James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai, China. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery.

“Sue Williams,” installation view, 2014, James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai, China. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery.

“Sue Williams” at James Cohan Gallery For decades, American painter Sue Williams (b. 1954) has been creating colorful, large-scale works that pose a dialogue between abstraction and the body. Her solo show at James Cohan Gallery in Shanghai is a miniature retrospective, beginning with her 1996 painting Darklight and culminating in a selection of her most recent work. Darklight, an all-over composition in shocking yellow, contains hundreds of grotesque bodies, both skeletal and obese, merging into abstract forms. Similarly, the 2014 paintings fuse beauty and ugliness through the concealment of human bodies. Aesthetically, however, they mark a new departure: exposed canvas, delicate lines interspersed with shimmering pastels, and cartoon shapes with an almost Pop sensibility. This series more explicitly references current events, with written phrases like “Terrorism exposed fabrication no one cares” and “The new American blowjob.” Abstract Expressionism (and painting in general) have taken quite a beating over the years, but Williams’ newer works argue that abstraction can in fact be relevant to real-life events.
Sue Williams, The Plesiosaurus Couple, 2014, Oil on canvas, 50 x 68 inches; 127 x 172.7 cm. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery.

Sue Williams, The Plesiosaurus Couple, 2014, Oil on canvas, 50 x 68 inches; 127 x 172.7 cm. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery.

“Sue Williams” is at James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai, until October 26, 2014.  
Lee Kit, "And," installation view, 2014, Aike-Dellarco, Shanghai, China. Courtesy of Aike-Dellarco.

Lee Kit, “And,” installation view, 2014, Aike-Dellarco, Shanghai, China. Courtesy of Aike-Dellarco.

“Lee Kit: And” at Aike-Dellarco Lee Kit’s most recent show at Aike-Dellarco, “And,” is a site-specific juxtaposition of video projections and his signature cardboard paintings. The only color comes from the projections on the far wall, bathing the tiny space in blue light. As with Kit’s previous work, “And” is

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poetic, simultaneously elegant and low budget, and gives nothing away. The viewer is presented with a series of illusions: on one wall, a color scan is taped flimsily, while on the other, the projection reveals an identically shaped shadow above an actual painting (You know you take a massive part out of me). It is unclear whether this is the paper’s physical shadow, or a filmed shadow that has been projected. To make things more complicated, the scanned image is of another painting in the exhibition (Hand). Through his usage of inexpensive, ready-made materials, Kit creates a spatial paradox, causing us to conflate illusion with reality.

Lee Kit, You don't know Mary, 2014. Cardboard painting, projection, 62.5 x 46.5 cm, 146 x 181 cm. Courtesy of Aike-Dellarco.

Lee Kit, You don’t know Mary, 2014. Cardboard painting, projection, 62.5 x 46.5 cm, 146 x 181 cm. Courtesy of Aike-Dellarco.

“Lee Kit: And” is at Aike-Dellarco, Shanghai, until October 31, 2014.

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Post in: Reviews Web Exclusive | October 24 , 2014 | Tag in: review Web Exclusive | TEXT: Lida Zeitlin Wu
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