359 Bedford Avenue, ground floor,
between South 4th and South 5th Sts.
March 20 through April 20, 2009
Gallery hours: Thursday through Monday, 12-6 pm
Richly surfaced, bold, witty, notational, provisional, the paintings in this show were made in quick gestures, taking five minutes to an afternoon. They function unpredictably, as existential encounters that emerge from political absurdities or epochal tragedies – experienced in the everyday.
A conceptual artist who is a painter's painter, a feminist who is an odd inheritor of the approaches to painting of the New York School, a noted writer on both feminism and painting, Mira Schor has long worked at the razor's edge between visual and verbal languages. [...]
Reflections on New Paintings by Mira Schor
-- Ellen Handler Spitz 2009
White walls. Polished gray floor. People stand nattering. Clustered like live statues, they pose nonchalantly in sleek jackets, poofed two-toned hair, pointy boots with spuds, sparkling oversized rings, and, in a flurry of spiked camaraderie, gesture to one another, their plastic cups half-filled with Pernod. It is Friday night before spring’s awakening here at the Momenta Gallery in Brooklyn.
Small-scale paintings, mostly black and white and deft of line, by Mira Schor, an acclaimed New York feminist artist and writer, punctuate the space at just above eye level. Unlike the human beings in the gallery, they seem to move mysteriously about circling the room in a recondite narrative sequence or at least to stimulate perceptual and conceptual motion. Bubbles rise up from ovals the way they do in comic strips yet remain blank, without texts, thus daring us to confront and accept their blankness or, if we try to imagine filling them up ourselves ad libitum, to risk obliterating their silence. These bubbles spring from hairless heads masked sometimes by enormous sunglasses, featureless heads that connect with other ovoids (one is mirror-like) by threads or worms of artfully applied paint that mingles black with red and umber. Are they necks or tails, these trailing lines? Organic or electric as in bent wire, or are they cyborg-like blends of nature and artifice, redolent of sperm and ovum too, the primitive and the evolved, in uncanny amalgams that, in fact, each one of us is ourselves and can never not be?
"Suddenly," a double work arrests my gaze. An apparent parchment divides in two and draws me into a kind of trance as the word itself leaps cursively into an empty square and then breaks as if a fuse had blown and the sparks dispersed. Its sensuous lines all sepia and yellow like agate reach through the broken square while the paper itself, a graffitied epidermis, billows out from against the wall. Finally, after following with our eyes through another broken fuse, we come to a viscous black head shape with dappled tentacles of golden hair, or is this some Ondine-like creature or a specimen of underwater fauna or flora with that almost greenish stem protruding from the right? The work evokes jarring associations --- to girlhood, race, electricity versus organic life, to conception, birth, rupture, thus, to violence and destruction. Yet, staring at it mesmerized, I cannot help but feel its calming influence and find within it a serenity that supervenes and quiets its excitement. Thus the painting makes a statement that far outreaches anything merely intellectual. In purely visual terms, it tells the story of a painfully wrested, perhaps only temporary but nevertheless courageous, containment of life's breaks and fragile connections…