January 6th to February 10th, 2018 – Run, don’t walk to see the magnificent works of artist Elizabeth Glaessner in her newest show “Mother Tongue” at the P.P.O.W Gallery, New York.
One leaves the chill of winter behind and the drab uniformity of West 22nd Street to walk into a space awash in color. Hanging silk banners, paintings on canvas, small portraits and a continuous frieze divide the gallery dynamically. Ms. Glaessner introduces us to a world brimming with contortionists who bite, slither and walk on all fours. It’s a bit mystifying if it weren’t so hypnotic.
In “Bacchanal” 2017 (water based media on canvas) shapes bleed into each other fluidly. Indeed, the very title seems to set the tone for the show unfolding.
Splashes of color, open spaces and a joyful use of mark making ricochet the eye like a ball in a pinball machine: Cerulean blue, violet, purple, magenta, lavender, terra cotta. Figures traipse along, others contort their features in agony or sit spread-eagle. Multiple figures give birth. A figure possesses multiple hands and breasts. Another sprouts a tale. Vessels embed themselves with stone. Sinuous shapes slip down from above like dangling pythons. A half antelope half human sports perky breasts that point north like exclamation points. A ruminating owl gives the viewer the middle finger. A miniature woman, comfortable in her conch shell, bums a ride. Sticky snail protuberances transform into penises. Just what are we looking at here?
Ms. Glaessner’s mark making keeps the eye animated with a continuous feed of cross-hatching, loops, wiggles, spots, splotches, feathery wisps, spikes and diamonds. Aboriginal art and tribal prints come to mind.
Only until the viewer stands in front of the full body of her work does the combination of joyful play and color mesmerize you – an event so rare in the New York artworld. Again, run, don’t walk!
Elizabeth Glaessner, Mother Tongue January 6th to February 10th, 2018
535 West 22nd Street, New Yor
Courtesy of the artist and P.P.O.W