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Point of View

At Goya Contemporary through Nov. 2

Timothy App, Edict, 2006

By J. Bowers | Posted 10/25/2006

Point of View

At Goya Contemporary through Nov. 2

Goya Contemporary's Point of View is an oddly schizophrenic show, largely due to the inclusion of works by abstract nonobjective painter Timothy App alongside elegant, realistic photographs by German-born living legend Evelyn Hofer and quietly provocative chromogenic prints by Finnish photographer Aino Kannisto.

It's easy to recognize an App piece. He generally works in murky, gray-tinted shades and employs the same basic geometric shapes--triangles, quarter-circles, squares, and long planes of color. In his works on view here, he focuses on the irregular, angular central space created when he arranges his pet shapes along the edges of his canvases. In works such as "Pylon," harsher members of App's drab color palette--rust red and dark brown--have been sidelined in favor of pale gray, olive green, and dusky salmon tones. And in the back room of the gallery, a set of 11-by-14-inch acrylic-on-paper works find him translating his opaque monumental compositions into muted, almost ethereal tangles of form and line.

All well and good, yes, but completely out of place alongside three early-1960s photographs from Hofer's extensive and acclaimed catalog. "Hommage to Zurbaran (Still Life No. 6)," a lushly colored dye-transfer print, pays tribute to the 17th-century Spanish still-life painter with a basket of oranges and a plate of lemons. The fruit is so meticulously arranged, so glowingly hyper-real, that the image blurs the lines between painting and photography. Even better, "Andy Warhol (in his studio with Elvis Presley print)," a silver gelatin print taken in 1962, frames the notorious star-maker in a plastic-coated doorway, his signature dark glasses subtly echoing the dark brows of three freshly printed Elvises. One print, still on the studio floor, stretches away from Warhol's feet like a distorted shadow--highlighting Hofer's celebrated eye for proportion and perspective.

Kannisto is right at home next to Hofer's work--using a peculiar brand of self/not self-portrait, she stars in all of her shots yet appears utterly different in each one, like an actor trying on characters and costumes. "Untitled (Books on Floor)," while marred by the annoying, oxymoronic practice of parenthetically titling so-called "untitled" works, could be a scene from any twentysomething's everyday life--a window hastily covered with flimsy, tacked-up curtains, a trail of books stacked along the edge of a worn rag rug. Kannisto stands jean-shorted and barefoot in the doorway, her hands shoved into her pockets, her painted toes splayed insouciantly on the wooden floor, her face wearing a pensive, almost sad expression as she gazes at something outside the frame.

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