Isabel Nolan: An answer about the sky
The exhibition “An answer about the sky” includes new hand-made sculptures, paintings, a text piece and Isabel Nolan‘s newest large-scale textile work, “The emptied room: A rug for the 20th Century”.
The works are exemplary of the artist’s restless investigation of the omnipresent aesthetic compulsion to find order, to generate a material record of place and time and thus secure an understanding of the world.
The exhibition title is from the Strugatsky Brothers’ novel “Definitely Maybe” (1974), referring to a thwarted effort to find the answer to one question and receiving information on an entirely different matter. Nolan sees this as a metaphor for productive artistic research
The fracturing of representational form and structure into poetic abstraction is common to many of the featured works in the show. The hand-tufted wool rug occupies both the wall and floor. The architectural imagery of the upper section seems to melt, dripping to the lower half where pattern solidifies into an irregular floor-scape. The sculptures are presented on solid stone plinths but have a quality of cultivated uncertainty. In their oscillation between representation and abstraction the paintings also conjure a sense of unease or shifting perspectives.
In the text work, A Sun So Hot, a central theme of the show is elucidated. Nolanwrites, “It is wise to beware beauty. It is treacherous. It aids in reconciling us to living in an irrational, thrilling, difficult and dull world and quite often beauty makes bearable and thinkable that which is quite rightly very difficult to bear or think.”
An answer about the sky is an exhibition precipitated by the seductive narratives of brilliant failures and the way in which art contrives to make the world more beautiful. Nolan again, “I asked a question about disintegration and the answer I got was art”.
tue, wed, thu, fri 11:00 am – 6:00 pm; sat 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sean Kelly, 475 Tenth Avenue