Magazine article Artforum International

Rodney McMillian: Maccarone

Magazine article Artforum International

Rodney McMillian: Maccarone

Article excerpt

"Prospect Ave.": It has such an aspirational ring that one can't help but expect a slum--or perhaps the rotting-from-within Main Street of Stepford. Pressing the name of his old street into service as the title for his first solo outing at Maccarone, Los Angeles-based artist Rodney McMillian surely had in mind its unintended appeal to the cynical impulse; it would be difficult to imagine a less comfortable or homey pad than this chilly cave full of mutant furniture, flayed carpeting, and self-consciously lumpen painterly environments. Committed to identifying parallels between socioeconomic demarcations and the arguably more enduring superstructures of our mental and physical selves, McMillian here enveloped viewers in a raw and oppressive conjoining of real and imaginative space.

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Visitors entered the gallery by passing through a state of kemmering in the Council-era of corrosion, 2012, a collection of black-vinyl scraps sewn together by hand and installed in a kind of tunnel leading to and from the front door. The work's look reflects McMillian's established penchant for dark tones, prosaic materials, and rough presentation, as well as his tendency to exploit the peculiarities of a given exhibition space; the plastic offcuts spread across the white walls like an ink stain or some sort of awful, insidious mold. A state of keinmering felt held in place by entropy and other dark forces, summoning the ghosts of Eva Hesse and Steven Parrino.

The tunnel form was reprised at the other end of the room in a cluster of highly abstracted landscape paintings that lined the route to another part of the gallery. McMillian thus positioned the time-honored genre as literally "escapist"--proposing or actually constituting an exit from the difficulties of the here and now. …

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