In a tiny storefront gallery, off the beaten path, Which arbitrary thing are you by artists Sadie Laska and Sara Magenheimer was on view at Cleopatra’s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn from April 6th – May 4th, 2014. Individually, each artist works quite differently, yet where the two women collide is in the materiality of their processes. Magenheimer uses video, photography and sculpture to explore language and the familiar tropes we associate with everyday objects. She combines these forms and in most cases when doing so, deprives them of their original intention, yet by making something new also reassigned signification.
Similarly, Laska, makes paintings using almost everything except canvas. Merging ordinary household objects with those unintentionally found, she communicates with an ongoing exchange around New Abstraction. The simplicity of the paintings is àpropos to traditional abstraction or color field painting, but her choice of and disregard for the materials is what allows the works to be successful. There is a naiveté or aloofness to the various parts of which they are made.
The two separate bodies of work presented similar energy and negation of function in favor of the reinvention of form. Both artists have the activated vision allowing for participating in a larger conversation. As recent graduates from the MFA department at Bard College, and somewhat early in their art careers (although 38 and 33 respectively), hopefully we will get the chance to watch as they continue to evolve in decision-making and sophistication. If they were having a séance, Jessica Stockholder and Isa Genzken would be channeled simultaneously.
Sadie Laska is also part of the band I.U.D. with Lizzi Bougatsos (artist and singer of Gang Gang Dance) and the duo recently performed at the opening of Dan Colen’s solo exhibition HELP! at The Brant Foundation in Greenwich Connecticut. So it appears as if she is in good company.