“Between the Ticks of the Watch”: The Renaissance Society

The following review appeared in Artforum in May, 2016.

Curated by Solveig Øvstebø, “Between the Ticks of the Watch” explores fault lines within conventional thought through the work of Kevin BeasleyPeter DownsbroughGoutam GhoshFalke Pisano, and Martha Wilson. In Posturing, 1973/2008, one among a suite of self-portrait photographs on display here, Wilson traces her transformation from a woman to a man to man in drag. Text beneath the image reads: “Theoretically, the uninitiated audience sees only half of this process, from ‘male’ into ‘female.’” Downsbrough’s architectural intervention And as There, 2016, includes one thin pole hanging from the ceiling. By its base on the floor, “AND” is printed in vinyl letters in all caps, and the adjacent windows are inscribed with “AS” and “THERE,” printed backward. As though intended for an outside audience, “THERE” imposes the relativity of one’s linguistic position. Ghosh’s abstract paintings hang unstretched and furling on the wall and are composed alternately of delicate geometric lines that delineate the picture plane and earth-toned, curvilinear marks that read like incomplete notes from unrecognizable computations. In Beasley’s sculptural installation Your Face Is/Is Not Enough, 2016, gas masks embellished with feathers, cheetah prints, umbrellas, and baseball hats rest on microphone stands beside similarly adorned megaphones. Activated by performers during the opening, the objects seem to await further inhabitation; they invite resistance through the co-optation of police-issue riot gear. Finally, Pisano’s film The Value in Mathematics (Language), 2015, investigates the relationship between philosophy, religion, democracy, and geometry. The restrained intersections of these works puncture underlying assumptions about how accessible space, place, and logic might be.