REVIEW for MTN on the Creator’s Project:
Black Ball Projects will be part of the inaugural “Independent Art Book Fair”
September 16-18, 2016 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Damien Davis in conversation with Lyle Ashton Harris at Black Ball Projects
Sept. 14, 2016
Damien Davis’s show OBJECT/AFFECTION
gets Artnet’s pick of the week for June 6
Reviewed in the Village Voice by R.C. Baker
In his 2013 photograph San Francisco, Ted Partin had an attractive woman wearing only panties kneel before a mirror set on the floor, like Narcissus at his pool. But she is not selfie-obsessed — her reflected eyes stare directly at us, framed by the drape of her long red hair, which is twinned by a tawny curtain in the background. Although she’s cropped at the waist by the photo — a deceptively quiet composition of dynamic triangles and curves — we see her entire body, the reflection stacking her torso below tattooed thighs like a misaligned puzzle.
Flesh also takes center stage in Linda Gallagher’s 2015 painting John With Palms — the naked man may be masturbating, but drippy leaves obscure the action. Dispensing with head and legs to concentrate on the model’s chest and nether region, Gallagher delivers a witty reversal on the concept of the male gaze.
Partin and Gallagher are married to each other, their different mediums converging on similar themes. Gallagher’s pencil drawing of a lean male’s trunk with tucked penis is hung next to Partin’s photo of a flat-chested young woman, both figures cropped near throat and angled knees. Nearby, Gallagher doubles down on the androgyny with a typically deft drawing of a slim feminine torso sporting a strap-on dildo.
One series of Partin’s photos is so dark that the female subjects emerge unexpectedly, shades from shadows. This sense of murky attraction continues in another of Gallagher’s nimble sketches, the pencil contours of flanks supplemented with scaly copper leaf to define an erect penis. A third material listed is “Acid Rain,” presumably the small brown stains on the sheet.
These crops and corruptions of the human body give rise to compelling formal beauty even as the flesh sends our thoughts beyond what’s depicted, as Jake Barnes laments in The Sun Also Rises: “I could picture it. I have a rotten habit of picturing the bedroom scenes of my friends.”
“Whizzer,” Black Ball Projects (up now, by appointment only): New artist-run gallery from masterminds Harriet Salmon, Jason Tomme and Ana Wolovick. Surreal gouache pizza ducks and baseball bats in concrete, need I say more?