Opening Reception: Thursday, May 2, 6 – 8 pm
Catalogue available with a conversation between Alexi Worth and Alexander Nagel
Alexi Worth will present his most ambitious exhibition yet, made in the distinctive mesh-based idiom that he has developed over the past three years. On view in the main gallery will be large images of private and public subjects: solitary smokers, wine-drinkers, crumpled texts, and crowds of protesters in damaged cities. Thanks in part to the “physical halftone” of the mesh support, Worth’s paintings have a tonal delicacy and flat depth reminiscent of print and photographic media. And yet their willful proportions show their origins as freehand drawings, both “hand-made and mind-made.”
A 2009 Guggenheim fellow, Alexi Worth was cited by Roberta Smith in a 2010 article about the continued relevance of painting. Worth’s last exhibition at DC Moore was named one of Artforum’s best shows of 2011.
As in that show, several new paintings feature fingertips sinking into crumpled sheets of paper—an emblem of dissatisfaction, of failure, of starting over. In the recent versions, the paper is a printed text. Deformed words and phrases twist across the picture plane, suggesting the random connections of a mind under pressure.
Here, as in many of Worth’s paintings, the vividness of the images depends partly on a fiction of physical nearness: the large cropped fingers (and looming foreground shadows) are implicitly our own. We view them not as massed spectators looking at a stage, but as individuals facing graspable things. That suggests a kind of literalism; in fact, Worth’s new images are more anti-literal, more rhetorical and playful than ever before.
One key departure in the show is a pair of large “Square” paintings, inspired by media depictions of resistance movements in Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere. A line of men holds irregular shields, onto which our own shadows are projected and fragmented. In one painting, we stand behind them, literally overshadowing them. In another, they face us, stones in their hands, clearly regarding our presence as a threat. Here Worth’s preoccupation with spectatorship takes a new, adversarial turn. In an increasingly POV world, distant protagonists appeal to us, depend on us, or turn on us. What does it mean when we feel near to events far away?
Also on view, in the Project Gallery:
Nearby: Debra Bermingham, Michael Cline, Siobhan McBride, and Dushko Petrovich