Magazine article Artforum International

Jonathan Podwil: Plane Space. (Reviews: New York)

Magazine article Artforum International

Jonathan Podwil: Plane Space. (Reviews: New York)

Article excerpt

The art historian Gertrud Koch once characterized Gerhard Richter's famously fuzzy-edged technique as the "Richter-scale of blur." I thought of this phrase when viewing Jonathan Podwil's recent exhibition of painting and film. The artist's still and moving images feature scenes in which people and objects make their way across the expanse of the frame, with the "blur" factoring heavily in determining a moment between motion and stasis. Yet Podwil's images operate within a plodding register of animation that calls attention to the tactile qualities of film rather than commenting on painting's long-fraught relationship with still photography. Dividing the show into two adjacent rooms, he allowed for simultaneous visual access to both sides of his practice from a single standpoint. One room contained four DVDs projected directly onto the walls, while the other housed seven small paintings.

Podwil employs a variety of motifs in his works, though the common denominator is the filmic image. Using found footage as well as Super-8 reels that he has shot himself, Podwil turns the crisp celluloid forms into agitated painterly scenarios. In the painting Rommel's Funeral, 2001, an angled aerial view of two cars on a street can be made out amid an urban setting. For the work, grainy black-and-white imagery of the Nazi general's 1944 burial was taken from the collaboratively produced film Deutschland im Herbst (Germany in autumn; 1978) which deals with the climactic moments of Germany's 1970s terrorism crisis. …

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