Spring, Justin, Artforum International
Adam Cvijanovic's installation was a delightful surprise: at once a visual pleasure and a commentary on the politics of viewing. The artist compiled an impressive series of representational paintings that borrow heavily from the Romantic tradition. But the work is hardly pastiche; rather, it attempts to reconcile theories of the nature and purpose of art with its seductive properties.
In the tiny storefront gallery, painted bright white, 18 delicate, grisaille paintings of erupting volcanoes ranged across the walls, forming a large and colorful imaginary landscape, complemented by a painting of a volcano over the entry door, and another of a black odalisque in a gilt frame. Suspended in midair by pulleys cantilevered with buckets of whitewash, the latter piece was enclosed in a tent of gauzy white silk with slits that allowed the viewer to enter this private space and walk on the handcrafted, parquet floor.
All of the paintings were handsome, and the superimposition of white silk on the completed oil paintings--made from vintage photographs of the volcanic explosions--gave the grisailles an added depth. The grain of the silk lent these oil paintings the look of mezzotints: photography, painting, and printmaking all seem to have been combined. …