STROKETRACEBLOW: Mark Making at Steven Zevitas Gallery
StrokeTraceBlow at Steven Zevitas Gallery is a triad of influential, veteran artists; the title describing the physicality of their working processes. The works in the exhibition are small in scale, nothing exceeding twelve inches, demanding a certain amount of intimacy with each piece. After walking up to one on the wall it is impossible to overlook the relationship that the artists had with their perspective works. The viewer catches a glimpse of what the artist was working with, only seeing the end result, the tip of the ice berg, if you will. In the absence of recognizable forms one is inclined to make sense of these images by drawing comparisons.
Jacob El Hanani has touched each of his paper squares thousands of times. His lines in ink become woven, holes popping in and out of the picture plane, and his marked and unmarked surfaces apparent between the lines. Opposed to the illusionistic planes of Hanani, Joshua Neustein builds with paper, even leaving blank or cutting into the surface to expose literal layers beneath. A further comparison reveals allusions to the body. Neustein’s holes in carbon paper become mouths or sex organs and Hanani’s forms like fibers from muscle tissue or veins falling apart and coming together.
Roland Flexner’s drawings talk about the body as well, yet they negate it at the same time. Flexner eliminates his hand all together and uses a different part of himself to create the drawings. Using his breath, Flexner blows liquid graphite around the paper, creating ominous and atmospheric spaces. The more overtly organic forms in the show, his works are like soft, fleshy landscapes and appear to be something not man-made. The evident stroke, trace, and blow administered by the artists who made these works offers us another way to think about the figure, in their residual presence.