Magazine article Artforum International

Joanne Tod

Magazine article Artforum International

Joanne Tod

Article excerpt

S. L. SIMPSON GALLERY

In her new series of paintings, Joanne Tod asserts the value of painting and painterliness against the more ascetic qualities of lately trendier art forms--although her only innovation in these very large works is to paint on layers of nylon mesh. The panel underneath appears hazily through the top layer, which is half obscured by figures. All the works replicate a museum or gallery interior, such as the Henry Moore room at the Art Gallery of Ontario, or Matthew Barney's installation at Barbara Gladstone Gallery in New York. In front of these scenes a couture-clad model appears, hard-edged against the mesh, but seemingly suspended in space. In She Was Here (all works 1993) she floats in front of Shu Lea Cheang's complex video installation, Those Huttering Objects of Desire, 1992, at New York's Exit Art. The model seems more real, more solid, more salable than the dimly viewed array of monitors, telephones, and pedestals. Tod seems to be commenting on the gallery-cum-corporation, implicitly comparing the high investment required for installations such as Cheang's or Barney's with the relatively modest outlay required to hang a painting show, even for such monumental works as hers. The artist, who persisted in painting even when it was at its least fashionable, seems to be exulting in the medium's return to favor. In her painstaking reproduction of the site of Cheang's project, she captures the reflection of the video monitors on the gallery floor in rich swirls of blue and violet, as though teasing a cool medium with a relatively warm one. …

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