Adams and Ollman is pleased to announce its second year of participation in Condo New York with a group exhibition hosted by JTT and featuring works by Katherine Bradford, Vaginal Davis, and Jeffrey Mitchell. Through passages of contradictory space, non-linear narratives, or riotous decoration that obscure a depth of meaning, each artist in the exhibition establishes a personal landscape that eludes clear boundaries.
In Katherine Bradford's Swimmer, Water Drop, 2019 on view in the exhibition, a central figure merges with a field of color that signifies water and yet does not obey the logic or constraints of a defined space. From the figure's fingers, delineated by a shadowy line, pours a band of cyan blue that snakes to the bottom of the picture plane and marks a transition between states of solid and liquid, dreaming and waking, foreground and background. This work exemplified Bradford's place at the forefront of a genre of painting in which representation meets abstraction to create a psychological state. Her formal concerns of line, color and composition clash or rival with potential narratives and meaning, without minding the disjuncture.
Vaginal Davis conjures her paintings with a concoction of "cosmetics, beauty products, domestic household goods, witchcraft potions, elixirs and compounds." Layers of expressive marks cover various found substrates - magazine pages, exhibition invitations, hotel stationery - as Davis deploys a painterly language of turbulent strokes, gestural lines, and smudgy wisps to form complex portraits of underrepresented or neglected historic figures, always with an eye on feminist and queer traces. Highlighting essence over likeness, Davis embraces an abstract definition of portraiture that speaks to surface and public persona as it veils a hidden, interior self.
Similarly, Jeffrey Mitchell's ceramic works reflect upon tensions between surface and depth. His masterful and heavily ornamented stoneware sculptures, enveloped by milky or golden glazes, have an ecstatic personality and generous energy. A hedonistic, indulgent approach pervades the work. A pot, often referencing a traditional vessel form, bearing the figure of an elephant or bear, for example, is blanketed and concealed in part by flowers, other figures, and various flourishes that intricately overwhelm and overtake the structure. Familiar patterns and images camouflage and obscure codified details such as fingers, holes and bits of language. Decoration and gilded elements speak to class and excess while the works simultaneously struggle and celebrate issues of sex, death, and faith, building meanings that are personal, contradictory, and subversive to permeate each work.