Get Into Lines
"Systems, Working Drawings"
Exhibit of 2-D works reveals artists' 3-D work
By Sara Mote, Kansas City Star, 17 May 2007
The Paragraph Gallery is filled with the studied compulsiveness of Marcie Miller Gross, the hum of James Woodfill, and the shadows of Anne Lindberg - even though nothing really hums or moves, juts or dangles.
"Systems, Working Drawings," a three-person collaborative exhibit by the usual suspects of Kansas City sculpture, offers a 2-D glimpse, and occasionally a revealing look, into each artist's 3-D work and how they manipulate systems of organization, production and accumulation, thought and gesture.
Gross, known for her minimalist stacks of folded and architecturally placed towels, brings the most literal sense of her work's underpinnings to the show.
"White Study" comprises five groups: an ordered map of plastered washcloths and hospital towels, sheets of vellum creased with open folds, stacked squares of industrial felt, paper towels and penciled outlines of Paragraph's floor plan.
A large vellum "shower curtain" shrouds the last grouping - a semiopaque preview of her just-opened installation at Byron Cohen - that teases the viewer with blurry swatches of blue.
In its incomplete folds and unrequited hints, "White Study" offers a kind of metasketch, or privileged peek into Gross' process, almost as if she were studying the Paragraph space for an installation.
Woodfill's pen plotter drawings are less process than actual products, a real treat that parallels his kinetic installations and public lightworks.
The 20 drawings - nine are mounted in a grid on the wall; the rest are suspended on a cable that traverses the gallery space - start with a pen plotter that lays down Woodfill's first system, a collection of lines, sometimes black, sometimes magenta, sometimes cyan, and often imperfect. Woodfill then maps a grid of vinyl cutouts - circles, crosses, ovals, hatches, broad squiggles - on top of his computer-aided drawings.
Even though they're static works on paper, they move, echoing the hum of oscillation of Woodfill's sculptures. The lines vibrate, the shapes float.
And the drawings invite your eye to enter and surf their surfaces as you duck and dart between the drawings.
But it's the imperfection of the line, where it disappears, where the globs on the edges, that reveals the system error - and the human in the mark.
Lindberg, too, is all about the mark. Her two canvases measure out a dense sequence of graphite lines - one warp, one weft.
In their varying weights of thick and thin strokes, they note the passage of time and emotion. And then the lines, and the measurement, disappear, replaced by the moment and by the shadows that flicker behind the canvases' surfaces.
Process or product, space or time, motion or stillness, these works speak to the mantra of the line, the mark that holds all potential and that can take us from here to there, wherever and whatever that may be.