Sue Scott Gallery


Christopher Chambers
NY Arts, May 1998

John Roloff’s New York debut exhibition is being held at the Lance Fung Gallery.  Mr. Roloff is better known in California, where he has lived and worked for most of his forty-odd years.  His work addresses environmental concerns and natural process as exemplified in this indoor exhibition.  He sets up circumstances for natural processes to interact with his creations, which are usually outdoors.  Here he has used black-and-white photo-murals of individual trees and orchards to overwhelm the gallery’s three-dimensional actual space.  The images have been subtly altered or stretched, abstracting the subjects into patterns of leaves and branches, yet the presentation brings the focus into real space.  Slump (Orchard) covers the largest wall at an angle, tilting back as it gets higher, and also carpets a major section of the floor.  We are encouraged to walk all over it and let it get wrecked.  The decomposition of the work over the stay of his show is all part of the theme of decay and renewal.  Spruce features a lone Spruce tree growing up a wall between windows and continuing onto the ceiling.  There is just enough room left for a couple of other arboreal images to be displayed in unusual configurations.

The Dorsky Gallery first opened its doors in 1963, specializing in works by nineteenth and twentieth-century masters, with an occasional contemporary show thrown in for spice.  By the time that the gallery moved from Broadway to its present location on West Broadway in 1990, Daddy Dorsky was getting on in years and wasn’t up to continuing the grueling schedule of monthly exhibitions with only his daughter Karen to help.  So for the nineties it has been essentially a private dealership.  When he passed away in 1994 brothers David and Noah along with their sister inherited the family business and set about revamping the agenda.  They reopened to the public this past November with a policy of mounting extended exhibitions organized by independent curators.  This month’s exhibit is co-curated by Jennifer Gross, curator of contemporary art at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Susan Harris, who is currently working on a forthcoming project for the Whitney Museum of American Art.  It is the second half of a two-part undertaking.  The first, titled Drawing the Conclusion featured drawings juxtaposed with the better-known work of their famous creators.  Drawing the Question, up now, examines aspects of drawing directly incorporated into complete works.  The titles seem to be in reverse of the natural order, but the content makes sense of the chronology.  The present display includes pieces by six artists: The immediacy of Dan Asher’s squishy clay sculptures has drawing-like tendencies when viewed in terms of line and form; Shelia Pepe draws with projected light on sculptural objects; Richard Tuttle scatters drawings on paper about the floor around a three dimensional effort; Eva Hesse consolidates two- and three-dimensional elements in an arrangement of boxes; Ree Morton operates along similar lines as Hesse, combining elements of drawing and sculpture; and Sol LeWitt contributes one of his classic wall drawings.

Taiwanese artist Shu-Min Lin’s first solo show in New York is at The Alternative Museum.  When the viewer first enters the space, there is a small room to the left of the entrance.  Go in it and a very eerie thing occurs.  Holograms of people pop-up out of the tiled floor, pushing their way into reality in a decidedly unsettling fashion.  Around the corner step through a curtain into a darkened installation which ventures into the time-space continuum with a poem by the artist inscribed on the wall in both English and his native tongue.  More human holograms people the main area of the museum, projecting out of shards of glass, a fish tank with live fish, and glass plates on the walls.  The work alludes to Buddhism and Asian mythology in addition to the overall weirdness of the hallucinogenic effects, however content is largely eclipsed by illusionism.

In order to fully appreciate Doris Salcedo’s provocative exhibition at the New Museum it is necessary to read the accompanying text by the senior curator, Dan Cameron.  The exhibition is comprised of three old, wooden, four-legged tables, which are rebuilt with components from other tables, along with a few other ominous ingredients.  Upon closer inspection we notice that fine gauze has been delicately stretched across them.  As objects they are lovely, and thoroughly obscure.  Their sublime emotive power cries out for an explanation.  Mr. Cameron’s essay explains that the elements included in the makeup of the work symbolize the plight of the artist’s oppressed people.  Ms. Salcedo succeeds in bringing attention to suffering Colombia.  These heartbreaking pieces impart a lingering redolence.  Understanding the intent behind the work adds additional resonance to this extremely subtle sculpture.