Diadikasia: Group Exhibition
‘it throbs of seduction, and a provocation to reach out and touch its oily sheen.’
It could be tempting to engage a feminist viewpoint when approaching Galerie pompom’s current show Diadikasia. As we are introduced to a group of 7 women artists, putting themselves out there to bring visibility to their practices. Curated by a participating artist, Nancy Constandelia in a very modern, post-heroic leadership style – with no apparent hierarchy, as a collaborative, dynamic and multi-directional group. It might simply be that the uttering of a ‘number’ immediately sparks an ‘analysis of the gender order’, and transports us to feminist cultural politics. To those past ‘problems in numbers’, and then posits us here, thankfully, to a correction on the imbalance in female participation, of which this exhibition is exemplary.
Yet it’s not this feminist lens that leads visitors into the show, the works themselves march you in. Fellow minimalist Robert Ryman’s credo “Is this a painting? Is that a painting?” can also help as it enables us to challenge our own perception as to the very definition of the medium. Certainly in regards to how Suzie Idiens’ protruding, highly lacquered to reflective perfection, wall mounted piece Untitled #3 could be construed, as both a painting and a modern sculptural relief. Appearing to be achieved through a very stringent painterly process. A flawless finish, so dense and seamlessly shiny that it throbs of seduction, and a provocation to reach out and touch its oily sheen.
Danica Firulovic’s piece, Warm White Square on White, demonstrates her as a stylistic follower of Ryman, yet equally Agnes Martin and Josef Albers, by her painting’s tender white lines, pale layered squares, faint fields of paint flirting with, but never reaching the edges. Her work gives over to the sense of a floating geometric abstraction. Yet, even though this white purist painted form is embedded with non-objective monochrome theories, and sits in an opposing presentation manner to the piece we are greeted with at the entrance it doesn’t matter, the show is about these varying relationships and processes.
Constandelia’a own chroma-key-green portrait shaped piece, tonally graduated by the finest layers of acrylic serves us a familiarity to her practice. Always a visual delight of perfection, this time heightened by a central defining zip and irregular overlapping sides. Grouped in conversation with Louise Gresswell’s discrete magenta tablet, that hovers close-by and insists we are rewarded if we admire its charming imperfections.
All the works easily push the boundaries as to how we can perceive painting to be. None more so than Graziela Guardino’s diptych. The panels co-joined, one holding a matte black linen abundantly gathered which creates elegant vertical pleats. To the right the medium is deconstructed, intentionally eroded thread-by-thread, individual strands often vibrating and left singular. Maybe this is a metaphorical piece as to one side we could see our pre-pandemic habitat – materially stable and secure – in contrast to the other, a post-pandemic fragile structure – traumatized and as flimsy as a spider’s web.
A total of seven engaging works that appear to be very simple and minimal, yet are very complex. Produced at the highest quality and the same originality as, dare I say it, male artists. That remind us how paintings are mindfully “built” not from one thought, but rather from a multitude of decisions and details.