April 18, 2011
HiLobrow.com has curated a collection of our favorite recent blog posts by comic-book scriptwriter and translator Adam McGovern. This is the first in a series of ten installments.
Would It Kill You?
There’s something to be said for pictures without words, and yesterday I went to see the pure article in a show of paintings by Valeri Larko. I first saw her stuff when she was doing anti-monuments of industrial sites — refineries, weird domes and silos of sinister toxic purpose and strange, solitary beauty — that were like perverse Great Pyramids of our modern kingdom. Later she did closer-focus junkyard scenes which, zeroed in to the random patterns of neglect and the colorful processes of decay, looked like open-air versions of an incidental Pollack painting. Most recently she’s been pursuing a kind of concrete genre painting, venturing not far from her New York neighborhood to find austere corners and intricate panoramas — scrawled-on gray walls, the worlds under train-tracks — that other painters overlook. There’s a yummy squalor to a work like “Graffiti, Zerega Ave, Bronx,” its dayglo spraycan stains like sewage painted in cake-writer; a scene like “Elevated Subway, Long Island City” reconstitutes the abstract grids of a Fernand Leger in its clatter of competing girders, lampposts, track-slats and their shadows. These pictures bear glimpsing witness to the landscape everyone knows but speeds up to avoid noticing. You never see a human body or face in Larko’s lens, and there’s the off-canvas theme that the noxious nature of what’s being memorialized could be killing its messenger. Yet the implication of a human presence to understand and animate — maybe redeem? — what’s being seen is the main point. In that way these paintings are, in the most crucial sense, lifegiving, and everyone could stand to look.
Artist site: www.valerilarko.com
Current exhibition (through 6/21/09): www.hunterdonartmuseum.org
This post originally appeared at ComicCritique.BLOG, on April 6, 2009.
CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators