artonpaper SANDRINE GUÉRIN By Faye Hirsch
folio I (2002), a suite of four soft-ground etchings in an edition of twenty-seven plus five artist’s proofs and three printer’s proofs. Each measures 15 x 18 in. (paper) and 3 x 4 in., 8x10 in., or 11 x 14 in. (plate) and was printed on Hahnemühle Bright White Copperplate paper by Felix Harlan and Carol Weaver at Harlan & Weaver, Inc., New York. Published by Baron/Boisanté Editions, New York.
In the print project she published nearly a year ago with Baron/Boisanté (AoP VI/4, p. 74), Sandrine Guérin, who has a penchant for the simplest available means to gain an image, used pieces of broken Styrofoam pressed into plates prepared in soft-ground to create a multi-paneled landscape. A similarly light and even more playful touch characterizes this suite of four prints, in which the artist has pressed jigsaw puzzle pieces in various configurations into the soft-ground. Pressure is unevenly applied; in some places it is just the edges of the puzzle-pieces that appear, so they seem to materialize and dematerialize like a mist in a harbor. In only one print do the pieces fit together; elsewhere they have been laid down side-by-side with no effort at joining them. The effect is to distance the image from what it represents, as well as to pay heed to the arbitrary quality of an art practice that will not bend to the rules.

 

nyt SANDRINE GUÉRIN By Faye Hirsch
Untitled (mountains) (2001), a soft-ground etching in an edition of 23 plus five artist’s and three printers’ proofs. The sheet of Hahnemühle Bright White Copperplate paper measures 32-1/2x48-1/4 in.; each of the 31 images with which it is printed measures 3x4 in. It was printed by Felix Harlan and Carol Weaver, assisted by Maggie Wright, at Harlan & Weaver, Inc., New York. Published by Baron/Boisanté Editions, New York.
“It’s a labor of love,” say publishers Mark Baron and Élise Boisanté of this deceptively airy and light-spirited etching, which was nonetheless treacherous to print. Really it’s more like 31 prints, for the artist created 31 plates that were imprinted in a grid of four rows of eight, minus one at the end. Guérin, an artist whose main medium is photography used a rather unconventional method to create what looks like a sequence of grainy black-and-white landscapes: cutting small mountain-like shapes out of Styrofoam, she pressed them into soft-ground, which perfectly registered the mottled, spongy surfaces. To guess this was the method is well-nigh impossible, though: the little landscapes are truly inscrutable, sensually curvaceous in one, jagged in another; fantastical, abstract, surreal, and naturalistic by turn; the small frames together offering a kind of meditative viewing. No such luck for the printers who had to ink and wipe every single bevel-edged plate with each run through the press, taking care that nothing moved. Here, then, is one of etching’s great tricks: to disguise a virtuoso feat as an effortless game.

 

dArt "Herd and Else"
Sandrine Guérin at Karen McCready
by Dominique Nahas

Herd and Else is the remarkable exhibition by French-born Sandrine Guérin, now a Brooklyn resident, that must receive top honors for exploring the limits of dematerialization and ephemera in contemporary art as well as for having the steadiest visual wit. To capture rapture is part of the game that is played here; if you need a comparison keep in mind that the Whitney Biennial star EV Day's use of materials looks cloggy, sullen, and clumsy compared to this relative unknown's evanescent aerial feats. (Note that Guérin has taken part in several strong group shows and has been mentioned in the NY Times in those contexts.)
Herd and Else is in turn gorgeous, unnervingly spooky, and enchantingly fey, and an impressive first solo exhibition for Guérin. Everything in Herd and Else insists on your close attention, and it must be given for fear you'll miss something in the pristine gallery, which is tucked away in the now fashionable meat market area of the city. For lightweight (Iiterally) stuff, this is very willful and tightly conceived artwork and a real pleasure to find and see. The artist, using a wide range of materials from transparent thread to tissue paper, to graphite on paper, to photographs, begins to spin a web of intrigue: a play of transparency and visibility and of transience predominates.
Untitled (pumpkin)(2000) is a series of 5 x 7 1/4 inch black and white photographs where wispy round blurs seem to evaporate on the surface of the pictorial field, as if ail the air is escaping from them. Each deflating whole looks suspiciously like a nearly invisible balloon ... mmmm. Her 5 x 7 inch drawings, entitled the Stair Series, have to do with the notion of expanding or superimposing volumes in space. The amount of concentration and tenderness in each work is breathtaking. The suppleness of the pencil lines and the keen astringency of Guérin's semi-organic vision, which entails seeing small cuppings of space through a biomorphic-minimalist lens, is strongly persuasive in its use of understated directness. This approach of radical simplicity and utter conviction and clarity continues in the artist's exploration of space in three dimensions. Her Untitled (Stairs) (2000) sculptural work is five steps marked out in space using hardly visible thread stretched out in a corner of the room, like the web of a particularly anal retentive spider. This is an intentionally silly and profound meditation on seeing things on the periphery of our vision (that is, of not seeing things at all that are right in front of us) and it is masterful. So is Untitled (Column) (2000), where 19 white threads are stretched from ceiling to floor, creating a gossamer ionic column of immeasurable beauty.
Finally, Untitled (Herd) (2000) is the gently ironic tour de force of the show. In the center of the room, tiny animal shapes made of folded tissue paper (which reminded me of insect herds) cavort on large styrofoam pedestals. Each group calls attention to itself by virtueof an indelible mental quality: gossamer weightlessness combined with a spoof on museum style presentation seem like Guérin's gentle reprimand about the noisy politics and high-visibility stakes of much contemporary art. Herd and Else wants to be seen and heard above the fray and it succeeds with surprisinglywinning style.

36 dART INTERNATIONAL fALL 2000

 

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"And Away We Go," Baron/Boisanté, 50 West 57th Street.
Reviewed by Ken Johnson
For its last exhibition at this site, this valuable little gallery presents a show about moving. It includes a clunky wooden truck by Chris Macdonald; a sly self-referential photograph of a truck by Jennifer Bolande; exquisite tiny photographs of misassembled model helicopter parts by Sandrine Guérin; a disappearing white deer by Not Vital and faux-primitive paintings by Michael Byron and Donald Baechler called, respectively, "Change of Address" and "The Goodbye Painting".

 

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"Drawings," Nicole Klagsbrun, 526 W 26th Street.
Reviewed by Ken Johnson
In this diverse and appealing selection of works on paper by an international roster of artists, image-making takes a back seat to quirky procedure and intimate materials.
Jonathan Callan, for example, applied a little dollop of clear silicone to each letter of a page from an old book, creating a gridded wedding of the verbal and the viscous. In one of his small works on paper, Donald Moffett accumulated short, pointy lengths of yellow paint into a square of shag carpetesque texture. And by mysterious means, including using his own breath, Roland Flexner makes small, perfect circles of marbleized texture or concentrically layered washes. Repetition drives most of the participants. Ian Dawson offers a large, dense ballpoint pen composition of repeated spirographic designs, and Jacob EI Hanani produces concentrated fields of almost microscopically fine hatching in ink. Some artists work in collage. Jane Wilbraham, for example, organized small stacks of letters cut from cardboard boxes to spell out the names of railway stations in New York and London. And a few artists make oblique images. Sandrine Guérin draws whimsical daydreams like a glimpse of a flying horse seen from below and Andreas Ruthi shows an exquisitely pale, tenderly comic watercolor of a penguin standing in front of a Mondrian painting.

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