It was very interesting to see Xylor Jane’s exhibition at CANADA. Jane’s work is distinct from many of the works we have seen throughout the course of the semester. Jane works with prime numbers and Fibonacci sequences. She also deals with the interplay between illusions and the effect of color, both in application of paint and the visual language she invents. Through her unique style, she is able to render various intricate paintings that have a graphic, yet refined quality. Jane works with the beauty of numbers, and creates many numeral sequences. As Emily Davidson, Associate Director of CANADA described in detail, Jane has a series of numerical sequences that she looks at. She allows a certain set to speak to her, and from this she is able to create a painting that plays with the duality between tension and calmness.
I found Xylor Jane’s work to be hypnotic. The more I stared at an image, the more I felt entrapped within it. While I often found myself focused on one specific detail in the work, there was also a sense of movement within the works, either in the number sequences or by the way that shapes were subtly projected forward by the negative space surrounding the number, as well as the color decisions that the artist made. There is a level of slowness to her work that allows you to take a step back and register all that is happening. Still, it is systematic, mathematical and structured. Using a grid-like structure and through experimentation with rainbow and metallic paints, Jane is able to produce a body of work that can certainly register with many people.
Aside from the exhibition, I also found CANADA to be very welcoming. While the gallery space is similar to many of the galleries we have visited, the essence is separate. Emily Davidson discussed how they work directly with artists and are very oriented towards their success. A lot of the time, at other galleries there is a large focus on profit. While profit is important, CANADA seemed genuinely intent on helping the artists prosper. I was also inspired to learn about Emily’s own background and to see how she was able to build a successful gallery out of her apartment to a large scale platform. She provided her own artistic history and advice of the importance of visiting different exhibitions and becoming aware about current happenings in the art world made becoming an artist seem possible.
Additionally, it was interesting to see how the gallery also featured a more experimental room, with a smaller body of work. This room featured Sahar Khoury’s work, which included sculptures and mixed media work. This work was refreshing, and even chaotic to a degree, and served as a clever juxtaposition to Jane’s body of work. I investigated more into Khoury’s work and discovered that she works with mostly found objects and rejected materials. She plays with the boundaries of high and low art. An example of this is how she uses a more expensive material, bronze, to cast what could appear to be painted Paper-Mache cats. In this sense, she is also working with illusion and the real versus the imagined as well as humor versus seriousness. There is a definite tangible quality to the work she produces.
After visiting CANADA, it was interesting to see the different layouts of the other Tribeca galleries. I found Josiah McElheny’s exhibition, Observations at Night to have a similar tangible quality to Khoury’s. Yet, McElheny’s work also seemed elusive, probably in part because of the materials he utilized, including glass and mirrors. His work seemed interactive and open to interpretation of the viewer. Three Twilight Labyrinths was perplexing and created a mystical illusion using hand-blown mirrored glass, industrial mirror, blue dye, electrical lighting and hardware. This body of work felt very sci-fi and was perplexing, in a positive way. I don’t think I have seen anything like this before. I liked how the exhibition was cohesive, and told a story. However, it did not feel restrained. There was an interesting progression of ideas that was curated effectively in the gallery space.