An equally compelling piece, Patricia Zarate’s wall installation of black and red triangles is arranged in a 72” circle directly on the wall, functioning simultaneously as a mandala, paper quilt, and mural. This hybrid piece commands your attention from a distance through bold color and intricacy, offering a dizzying arrangement that, up close, is surprisingly tender and intimate. Instead of erasing it, the artist left a simple pencil line on the wall where she drew a perfect circle to orient the complicated grid of shapes. This evidence of the artist’s process, although arguably an imperfection, charmingly humanized this work that from a distance seems mechanically precise. Titled “Tri-modulation” (2020), it feels simultaneously digital and handmade, complex and simple, and its visual oomph is achieved through devotion and accumulation.
Two other large wall works resonate next to Siegler’s and Zarate’s works, including Ricky Dwyer’s “Untitled (Studio blanket with poms)” (2018), which offers a softer, but no less visually complex, counterpoint to the show, where dyed cotton and muppety tufts of wool are arranged in a grid of undulating warm tones over a neutral woven backdrop. And “Cassamance” (2020) by Nontsikelelo Mutiti, is a baroque, vinyl wall maze of linear vines. It stretches out across two walls, a visually ambitious trick to pull off, and, like wallpaper, the linear pattern occasionally breaks but doesn’t fall apart. Of these four large wall works, this work feels experimental and hints at possibilities to be installed in a variety of different ways, perhaps next time at a larger scale. It’s a pleasure to look at and to photograph, especially when you come close enough for it to fill your entire peripheral vision. This piece was installed at the optimal size, in order to function amiably with all the other works in the show, but feels like it wants to grow larger in its next iteration.
Three totemic sculptures by Sarah Bednarek function as odd and solemn memorials, a testament to the healing properties of repetition, symmetry, intricacy, and humor. Bednarek died last year at age 39, and her physically beautiful, decadently colored sculptures vibrate with an eccentric but sincere brand of molecular humor achieved through the homey medium of painted wood and, in one case, velvet. All four resemble microscopic organisms and cells, and offer a macro/micro view of the universe and a solid respect for the finality of life. It was these works in particular that made me wonder if pattern’s never-ending potential to proliferate is, in fact, a very human reaction to the mortality we all share and a way to feel connected to something larger and universal which will outlast our existence.