Friday, January 16, 2009

Anya Kielar at Casey Kaplan

A week ago I attended a number of openings in Chelsea. Of the lot, the one exhibition which stood out was Anya Kielar at Casey Kaplan. I went back the following Saturday for a second look and I came away reinforcing my feeling that this is an important exhibition.

One continuing issue raised in the art world is how we deal with pluralism without trying to force everything back in one single box, or stack of boxes. From a personal point of view, I find a solution within the concept of "lineage", the historical path an artists work is following. Now in a media supercharged world, this path probably is better represented by visualizing the filaments of a root system tracing its way back through history. This sense of traced history has to go deeper than a few issues of ArtForum (whatever), it has to be a felt connection with ones predecessors.

The roots of Anya Kielar's works run deep, into the realms of the early Dadaists, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Cornell and the Cubists. Ms. Kielar is an artist with superb instincts, that unteachable ability to put things together in the right way. This is an ability which transcends technical skills, something which any artist can learn.

In her current exhibition she presents a group of three dimensional constructions structured as shallow boxes along with works on paper she described as sprayograms.

The constructions are marvelous, they are complex, both funny and creepy as they activate their shallow three dimensional spaces. Her 'drawings' bring Man Rays Rayograms up into the present. Both investigations have a contemporary, somewhat goth, street art feeling, like graffiti without being graffiti.

The formal strengths of these works provide a structure for a personal metaphysic, an exploration into how we relate objects in the world with our own sense of self identity. The lowly coat hanger, a glove or a mask all trigger associations with our inner world, the artists inner world made manifest.

As I wrote earlier in Nodal Time , I believe we are a period of deep cultural change, Anya Keilar's exhibition is a case in point.

Anya Kielar
Window 2008
Sprayogram, Acrylic on Paper
50 x 96" (127 x 243.8 cm)

Anya Kielar
Purple Lady 2008
Wood, paint, metal, fabric, glue, paper
37.3 x 97.5" (94.2 x 247.7 cm)

Anya Kielar
White Lines 2008 (left)
Black Lines 2008 (right)
Wood, paint, metal, fabric, glue, paper
33.5 x 49.5" (85.1 x 125.7 cm)

Anya Kielar
Blue Lady 2008
Wood, paint, metal, fabric, glue, paper
37.5 x 85.5" (95.3 x 217.2 cm)

Photo's by me.

Anya Kielar at Casey Kaplan Gallery 1/08/09 through 2/07/09

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