Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Langdon Graves at Chop Suey

This is long, long overdue and I started writing about Langdon's work on the 17th of June. Here's the first sentence that I wrote:

Richmond Va hipster darling of the under 30 set Langdon Graves is showing recent work from her first year of grad school at Parson's School of Design.

Clever as hell, yes? I imagine I'll be getting that call from the New Yorker telling me they need me to write their Goings on About Town section any moment now...

So, to finish what I never really began I'll say this: Langdon's work has been up at Chop Suey for an awfully long time for all of us (RVA'ers and non) to not have checked out the show at least three times (once for each month it's been up) and it is about to be de-installed this weekend so now is the time to go. I only have pictures of her sculptures here (hard to post about work when your site is all flash ah hem...) but Langdon is actually better know for her meticulous, and delicate drawings/paintings/assemblages, which act as metaphorical/allegorical portraits of hipster-ish people in post (and pre) compromised positions (what does that mean?- it means that they all look like something has either just happened or something is about to happen- see all of Philip Lorca DiCorcia and Gregory Crewdson images as examples). I love Langdon's drawings from this show- they are incredibly subtle and I would say restrained in the amount of info they give (clues abound but to what?) but I was more struck with the sculptures. Sure it looks as though she has moved to NYC and got bitten by the Barney bug, but nevertheless they are unexpected, playful (Frankenstein-ish plugs and switches, hot colors, and loopy, lumpy forms), and inventive. Look at the toothpicks used to make the skin-flap-in-space detail.

Skin-Flap-in-Space (detail) My title.

But mostly they compliment what is, overall, an unsettling relationship to the body- its systems and its processes. I walked away from this work wondering whether or not Langdon had been born with the back-half of her unrealized twin growing out of her side like some freak in a Joel Peter Witkin photograph, and then I thought of myself and all of the things that I work hard to keep under wraps. We all have our rashes, our scars, and our many imperfections that we spend our most private moments obsessing over. Obsess away Langdon, yours is a fruitful labor.


No comments: