Kim Gordon at KS Art * by Chris Kasper

Kim Gordon Come Across

March 8 - April 9 2008

Kerry Schuss Art

73 Leonard Street

New York, NY 10013

Standing in the center of Kim Gordon’s show at KS Art, surrounded by washy portraits of faces that appear to be watching you, or perhaps beyond you, the effect is one of performing for an audience; no surprise, considering Gordon’s career in Sonic Youth and the years of blurry spectators and ghostly faces that must float in and out of her memory. They come out of and drift back into a blur, on the cusp of recognition.

Gordon has made twenty to thirty small watercolors for Come Across, which opened on March 8th. The exhibition also features an ambient sound piece—a collaboration with her husband and band mate Thurston Moore that permeates the gallery—and two off-white shag-rugs situated on the varnished wooden floor. The watercolors are painted on rice paper, some framed and leaning against wall-wedges, others hung, unframed, directly on the wall. Up close, they appear to be blobby abstractions, but at a distance, the floating blobs morph into ghostly, ethereal portraits. The works hold a delicate tension between abstraction and figuration, with compositions consisting of bleeding layers of pinks, greens, blacks, gently reflective grays, and glitter-like specks sparkling in the bright over-head lighting.

The title of this exhibition, Come Across, might serve as an invitation to viewers to cross the threshold from spectator to performer. The watercolors become a landscape of audience members and reverse our role, producing the feeling of being surrounded by hollow, gazing faces. The glitter on the portraits and metallic paint suggest a reflection of sorts, the sound element evokes what it must feel like to perform the same music again and again, night after night, and the shag rugs are the rugs we’ve seen countless musicians stand on while performing. By entering this exhibition space, we come across, moving onto a stage where we can consider the role of the performer and question our own role as spectator.

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