Jessica Stockholder

Article excerpt

The initial dilemma one must confront when viewing Jessica Stockholder's work is whether to call it sculpture or painting. This problem seems fairly old-fashioned, especially after the postwar avant-garde tried its very best to dissolve such genre limitations. Perhaps it is just this challenge that gave Stockholder's installation--this concept seems the most appropriate for the moment--its unsettling character. It recalls those art works that were instrumental in redefining painting and sculpture, image and object. In the end, one must consider whether this work is rehashing an old art-historical question.

Stockholder's installation, SpICE BOXed Project(ion), 1992, communicated its affiliation to the image-world of illusion and to the material world of sculpture. Thus, the viewer's position in relation to this overly colorful work was important as was the question of which color constellation was in his field of vision. The closest objects presented themselves as autonomous, like the wall of bricks and suitcases and the sheep's wool that hung from the ceiling. But the sheer abundance of objects and the color of individual objects forced one to place them in a context. This referential system went beyond the objects to painted portions of the wall.

The strong green and blue painted on the wall in the corner of the space--playing on the "spice/ice" pun of the title and splitting the room into warm and cold halves--continued on a board that leaned against the wall. It then took on a linear quality in the middle of the room and was played on again in the colors of a cable. …