Marilyn Minter
Spray On
Carolina Nitsch Project Room
11/18/16 – 1/20/17

by Ian Simon-Curry


All images Courtesy the artist and Carolina Nitsch Project Room


Carolina Nitsch Project Room is now showing Spray On, an intriguing group of five new prints by Marilyn Minter. I visited the show after seeing the artist’s exceptional retrospective Pretty/Dirty at The Brooklyn Museum. Not that it needs one, but the retrospective finds a counterpoint in this intimate show. The small-scale multiples contrast Minter’s billboard-size paintings that take years to complete.

That implication of difference between her unique works and the prints is not, however, to say that they at all feel mass-produced. They exist as wonderfully sculptural objects with heaps of physical integrity. Each work is mounted on an aluminium panel that extends the image slightly from the wall and gives it a feeling of substantive permanence.

Luminous and alluring, the works glow from within, especially in natural light. (When you visit, ask to see them with the overhead lights off.) They create a sense of openness and framed, pictorial restriction at the same time. The prints open portals in the walls on which they hang, yet they have insistent edges as a result of the metal panels’ widths. We feel we could tip into their reality at any moment.

Spray On #2 offers an image absent of any figure. This surprised me, being most familiar with Minter’s ultra-detailed, close-up depictions of faces and body parts. What the print does portray is a frosty screen of dripping moisture and blurry tiles that create a pregnant emptiness. Looking at it, I almost waited for a knife or screaming mouth to appear a al Psycho. The print in some ways recalls Minter’s early paintings like Paper Curls or Spill, which I only recently encountered at the Brooklyn Museum retrospective. These paintings show nearly empty patches of linoleum floors that similarly depict evidence of absence. Here Minter shows she knows the other side of seduction: withholding.

The prints re-emphasized Minter’s exceptional ability to create irresistible works that are as enticing as objects as they are as images. They catch our eye like glossy advertisements, then, as we get closer, they get us wondering “What is that? How did she create that? Who is that?” Then we step back once more and fall in love with the image as image all over again. Drawn backward and forward, in and out, we simply can’t get enough.

edited by William J. Simmons
Marilyn Minter: Spray On is on view at Carolina Nitsch Project Room (534 West 22nd Street, NY) through January 20, 2017.


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