- Source: The New York Times
- Author: Travis Diehl
- Date: FEBRUARY 1, 2023
- Format: ONLINE
Art Gallery Shows to See in February
Looking for new art in New York this weekend? Head to Chinatown for SoiL Thornton and Ebecho Muslimova, and don’t miss Katherine Bernhardt in TriBeCa.
Through Feb. 25, Maxwell Graham/Essex Street, 55 Hester Street, Manhattan; 917-675-6681, maxwellgraham.biz.
It’s a testament to the Neo-Conceptualist SoiL Thornton’s mercurial range that the pictures you first encounter at Maxwell Graham, a charismatic survey of silver gelatin photographs by the Vienna Secessionist Cora Pongracz, provoke a double take: Is SoiL making photos now? A green tint radiating from the back-room office, cleared out for the occasion, draws the eye to Thornton’s actual show, consisting of a succinct three paintings and a sculpture. A brilliant chroma-key abstraction hits first through the doorway. Its wily title, “A highlight hiding in A projection (eyes closed arm yoga for duration of Mohammed Wardi’s track, Al Mursal ~The Messenger~, and plastic suffocation, kindly),” implies that Thornton painted it blindly, spraying noxious green while Wardi’s music played, as if the work were a byproduct of meditation.
Compare that highlighter hue with the hunter green required of all construction fencing in New York City. For “Splintered bouquet of each year of me as you,” Thornton applied a piney municipal shade to a pile of long wooden strips, then nailed a numbered, grass-green livestock tag to one tip of each. The tags are a little brutal, inspiring misplaced sympathy for the wood, so that the sculpture embodies the show’s ambiguous taste for pain. In the nearby “Slave > Salve,” Thornton burned the titular phrase into a wooden panel among blow-torched stripes. “Self flagellation” wears bands of Tropicália colors like a graffiti mural by Marc Jacobs. The sticks lie there on the ground like a bouquet of used-up lines, and the green painting glows like it’s watching.