The moving target
Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne
21.04.2010 - 27.05.2010
Drawings and installations by Jill Baroff (born in 1954) unite conceptual coherence with a sensitivity towards materials.
Three different groups of works are being introduced in this show. Particularly concise are the circular “Tide Drawings”. The motif of concentric circles was prominently introduced into American art at the end of the 1950s by Jasper Johns and above all, Kenneth Noland with his “Targets”. In Jill Baroff’s works, the hypnotic form of the lines circling a common center is given a precise content and motivation. The “Tide Drawings” are the visual translation of the tide levels at various coastal locations over various periods of observation. The artist takes hundreds and hundreds of measurements from the Internet, and using a compass, transfers them onto paper so that respectively individual patterns of concentration come about. In other words: the diachronic sequence of the tide levels is put into a synchronic visual form. Like waves of water emanating outwards, or the growth rings of trees, the optically vibrating “Tide Drawings” show us the passage of time. In doing so, the circular form indicates more the cyclic notions of time in Asian cultures than the linear western notion, and it is in keeping with the perpetual repetitive changes of ebb and flow connected with the lunar cycle.
In active contrast to the precision of the “Tide Drawings”, Jill Baroff’s formally freer “Floating Line Drawings” arise from the sensitive dialogue between the artist and the specific material qualities of gampi, a delicate, transparent and yet surprisingly strong paper, native to central and southern Japan, which the artist has studied extensively. The simple, -structuring “rule” for this group of works consists in the artist drawing a line of varying width with graphite or oil pastel around the perimeter of each sheet of paper, cutting this free and allowing it to float above the remaining square before she affixes it there. Decisive in this process is that it is never wholly predictable how the strip of paper is going to react, where it bends or frays, how the folds will be, etc. The result is multi-layered drawings with an emphasis on the material, suffused with an astonishing lightness and freedom, and which have taken on a poetry of their own from the interplay with chance.
A third group of works by Jill Baroff is introduced with a floor installation of monochrome yellow, corrugated cardboard. The “Corrugated Floor Works” were originally inspired by observations of light changing on Japanese tatami floor mats. For the Galerie Christian Lethert, Jill Baroff is realizing an installation, on the one hand, bearing reference to the specific conditions and proportions of the center room of the gallery, and on the other hand, making use of the mathematic Fibonacci-sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc.) as a compositional basis. Here as well, an openness to the given concrete situations goes hand in hand with conceptual logic.
Represented by Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne